Today's Matchup: Brewers (Lohse) @ Cubs (Rusin)

David Banks

Join us this afternoon for the second series-opening day game of the week.

As you may have heard, the Brewers have been awful in day games this season. They play day games today, tomorrow and Sunday. It could be a long weekend.

The fun starts at 1:20 today when the Cubs will send Chris Rusin (2.79 ERA, 4.19 FIP) to the mound. Rusin is lefthanded and in his second major league season, but making just his 17th career appearance. He pitched five innings against the Phillies on Saturday and allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits, walking three and striking out three.

Rusin has a 2.20 ERA over his last seven outings, so he's been very good lately. The Cubs seem reluctant to let him pitch deep into games, though: He hasn't thrown more than 94 pitches in an outing all year and has been lifted with a pitch count in the 80s in each of his last three starts. He throws an upper 80's fastball around half the time and will rely heavily on a cutter while also throwing a changeup, curve and slider.

The Brewers have not seen Rusin this season, but he did pitch five innings against them in his MLB debut back in 2012 and allowed one run on just one hit. The active Brewers who have faced him before are a combined 0-for-10 with an HBP and a walk.

He'll face veteran righty Kyle Lohse (3.32 ERA, 4.16 FIP), who bounced back nicely from a rough outing two starts ago. Lohse pitched six innings against the Angels on Sunday and allowed a run on seven hits, walking one and striking out one. He threw 93 pitches in that outing, only the second time he's thrown fewer than 100 since July 13.

The Brewers have allowed Lohse to elevate his pitch count a lot more over the last couple of months. From April through June he was averaging just 89 pitches per appearance, but since July 1 that number is 101. He's also posted a 2.95 ERA since July 1, so the extra work doesn't appear to be hurting his results. He'll throw his 90 mph fastball around 47% of the time, relying heavily on a slider while also throwing a changeup and curve.

Lohse has faced the Cubs twice this season and allowed a combined three runs on 13 hits over 13 innings with three walks and nine strikeouts. Six active Cubs have faced him ten times or more:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Darwin Barney 25 21 5 1 0 0 1 1 1 .238 .261 .286 .547
Starlin Castro 23 23 5 0 0 0 1 0 3 .217 .217 .217 .435
Welington Castillo 12 11 2 2 0 0 1 1 1 .182 .250 .364 .614
Anthony Rizzo 12 11 4 1 0 0 0 1 2 .364 .417 .455 .871
Nate Schierholtz 12 12 2 1 0 1 3 0 4 .167 .167 .500 .667
Luis Valbuena 10 10 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .200 .200 .200 .400
Total 120 113 24 7 0 1 6 4 18 .212 .237 .301 .538
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/5/2013.

As of this writing I haven't seen today's lineup. If you have, please drop it in the comments.

And in the bullpen:

It looks like a beautiful day for baseball at Wrigley. Expect a game time temperature around 80 under sunny skies with winds blowing out to left and a pervasive smell of urine.

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