Chris Rusin gets one last chance to make a case for a 2013 rotation spot. He can make a good impression on Sunday if he can help the Chicago Cubs avoid their first 100-loss season in 46 years in the finale of a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Rusin will be looking to find some consistency going into the offseason, having allowed at least five runs in three of his six career starts while yielding only four runs total in the other three over 15 innings.
The 25-year-old lefty is coming off a loss at the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday, drilled for six runs on seven hits and a walk in 3 2/3 innings. That dropped him to 1-3 with a 7.30 earned run average, with all three setbacks coming on the road.
Rusin will face Arizona for the first time and will be up against 26-year-old Josh Collmenter, who was handed a start on Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants following six relief appearances in a row.
Collmenter was solid over five innings of a win, scattering a run on two hits and two walks while fanning four. He moved to 5-3 with a 3.80 ERA in 27 games this season, 10 of those starts.
"He did a great job for us today," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said of Collmenter, who got the start in place of Tyler Skaggs.
Following a previous relief outing, the right-hander faced the Cubs for the first time as a starter on June 22 and did not factor into a 6-1 win. He gave up a run on three hits and three walks in four frames of work.
The Cubs have lost seven games in a row and fell to 59-99 with Saturday's six- run loss. It was also Chicago's 58th road loss of the season, extending a new franchise record and left it 0-18 in NL West ballparks this season.
Chicago last lost 100 games in a season in 1966.
Justin Upton hit a home run and drove in three runs for the Diamondbacks in an 8-2 win, while Trevor Cahill spun a complete game.
Cahill struck out nine and gave up just four hits. He didn't allow a run until Alfonso Soriano stroked a two-run homer with one out in the ninth inning.
Cahill also drove in two runs for the Diamondbacks, who will go for the series sweep on Sunday. The D'backs and Cubs traded three-game sweeps as the host in the previous two sets against each other this season.
"He pitched very well for us this year," said Gibson regarding Cahill. "He had 13 wins and 12 losses, we could've improve upon that. I think he can be a 20- game winner."
Chicago starter Justin Germano (2-10) was pounded for seven runs on 10 hits. He lasted just 4 1/3 innings for the Cubs, who have lost seven games in a row.
"I just hit a wall this last month and a half," said Germano. "These last few starts I can see that I'm not finishing pitches like I was earlier in the year."
The Cubs ended both the 1962 and '66 seasons with 103 losses.