Friday, September 28, 2012
Updated: September 30, 12:50 AM ET
For all the dismal seasons Chicago Cubs fans have suffered through over the last 45-plus years, a 100-loss campaign is not among them.
That would change with another defeat Sunday against the host Arizona Diamondbacks, who look to complete a three-game sweep.
After falling 8-2 on Saturday, Chicago (59-99) needs to win its remaining four games to avoid hitting the 100-loss mark for the first time since the 1966 team went 59-103 in Leo Durocher's first season as manager.
The Cubs also fell to 0-18 in road games versus the NL West this season and will need a win Sunday to avoid being the first team since baseball shifted to divisional play in 1969 to go winless on the road against a single division.
They mustered only four hits and didn't score until Alfonso Soriano's ninth-inning two-run homer Saturday.
"At this point, we are trying to win four games out of four right now," manager Dale Sveum said. "A lot of ways it is important because if we lose (Sunday) we are going to lose 100 games. That is the bottom line. (Sunday) is as important as any game we play, West Coast or whatever. The bottom line is we have to win (Sunday) not to lose 100 games."
The Diamondbacks (80-78) played without Paul Goldschmidt (sore back) for the second straight day, but they got plenty of offensive help from Aaron Hill and Justin Upton on Saturday. Hill went 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs, while Upton hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs.
Goldschmidt's replacement, Mike Jacobs, went 2 for 4 with an RBI as Arizona won for the fifth time in six home games.
"Even though we're out of it, if we can play good baseball for the last four games, it will just give us a whole mindset going into next year," said Trevor Cahill, who threw a four-hitter for his third career complete game.
Josh Collmenter will get his second straight start after pitching well on short notice in his last outing.
Collmenter (5-3, 3.80 ERA) was notified late Monday night he would pitch Tuesday, then gave up one run and two hits in five innings of a 7-2 win at San Francisco.
He's won each of his last four starts with a 3.52 ERA dating to July 6, but he also has seven relief appearances mixed in during that stretch.
"I just have confidence, I guess, that he'll be able to handle it," manager Kirk Gibson told the team's official website.
The right-hander gave up one run and struck out six in four innings of Arizona's 6-1 win over the Cubs on June 22 in his only career start in the series.
Chicago will counter with struggling rookie Chris Rusin, who was tagged for six runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings of Tuesday's 10-5 loss at Colorado.
Rusin (1-3, 7.30) has yet to complete more than five innings in six starts, and he's allowed at least five runs in three of those.
"Rusin was just up in the zone with not a whole lot of life on anything," Sveum said.
The left-hander has yet to face Arizona, which has won six straight home meetings with the Cubs.