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Rusch Rushed In?
by alex ciepley
The Cubs are supposedly close to signing a deal with last year's pleasant rotation surprise, Glendon Rusch. I think it's likely a good signing, but I'll hold off on that judgement until we see what the contract looks like.
One of these years looks not like the other:
YEAR IP H HR BB SO ERA ----------------------------------------- 2000 190.2 196 18 44 157 4.01 2001 179.0 216 23 43 156 4.63 2002 210.2 227 30 76 140 4.70 2003 123.1 171 11 45 93 6.42 2004 129.2 127 10 33 90 3.47
To be fair, 2004 was better than any of Rusch's other seasons, but the real runt of the litter was the Blizzard of 2003 that Rusch visited on Milwaukee.
When Rusch was signed back in the spring of 2004, I was cautiously optimistic that he could, if need be, "provide some pretty okay innings at the end of the rotation." He provided some more-than-pretty okay innings out of the rotation: at times he was downright beautiful.
My optimism primarily sprung from the forehead of that 2003 hit-rate. Rusch has always given up a few more hits than it seems like he should, but based on his solid strikeout rate it just didn't make much sense to me that his tee-ball worthiness as a pitcher would continue. 171 hits in 123 innings? That looked like especially bad luck.
But should the Cubs bank on receiving a 3.47 ERA next year from Rusch? Probably not. Maybe he turned a corner I'm unaware of, but I'd expect him to slide a bit, providing perhaps an ERA in the mid fours. Considering Rusch would most likely be the fifth starter, that'd be absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.