Cubs righty Chris Volstad snaps winless streak at 24 starts
BY NEIL HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org August 26, 2012 9:24PM
Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs
Updated: September 28, 2012 6:14AM
Not only was right-hander Chris Volstad trying to end his potential claim to a dubious record, but he had an extra two hours, 23 minutes to think about it before the rain-delayed game Sunday against the Colorado Rockies at soggy Wrigley Field.
Then, in another twist of fate, he had to sit through a 30-minute delay before the game was finally declared official, giving Volstad his first victory since July 10, 2011.
Maybe the extra time before the game allowed him to visualize a win for a change because he turned in his best performance of the season in the Cubs’ 5-0 victory. It was well worth the wait because he’s no longer stalking the major-league record for consecutive starts without a victory.
“To have the tarp being pulled in the ninth inning, it was like, ‘Come on, let’s get this over with,’ ” Volstad said.
Volstad (1-9) got a standing ovation from the few rain-drenched fans remaining when he left in the seventh inning after allowing three hits and no runs in 62/3 innings. The Cubs led 2-0 at the time but by leaving two men on, Volstad was one swing away from a blown lead that would’ve sent him spiraling to his 25th consecutive start without a win.
Fortunately for him, Manuel Corpas got Jonathan Herrera to ground out to second to end the inning. The Cubs’ bullpen kept the Rockies scoreless the rest of the way to help Volstad snap his winless streak. The record, shared by Matt Keough and Jo-Jo Reyes, is 28.
His teammates celebrated with him in the clubhouse when the game was called after eight innings.
“When you’re a position player, and you have that game where the team wins and you have a couple of knocks, you go home feeling pretty good about yourself,” second baseman Darwin Barney said. “He hasn’t had one of those in a long time. This was a day where everything worked out. They didn’t get a cheap hit off him today, and the defense picked him up. I’m real happy for him.”
Legacy aside, Volstad was facing a more practical dilemma. He’s making $2.65 million and is eligible for arbitration after this season. It’s doubtful he will return to the Cubs unless it’s the result of a handshake deal that would allow the Cubs to avoid arbitration and sign him to a lesser salary in exchange for a guaranteed contract.
The bottom line is, whether it’s with the Cubs or some other team, Volstad is pitching for his major-league life.
Jeff Samardzija and Matt Garza have virtual locks on rotation spots when spring training opens. Everybody else is in the wind. Volstad has made 14 starts for the Cubs this season. He has thrown 76 innings and lowered his ERA to a still-bloated 6.28. How much more do the Cubs have to see?
Rookie left-handers Chris Rusin and Brooks Raley have been solid and deserve a longer look. Another lousy start, and it might have come at the expense of Volstad, who turned in only his fourth quality start.
“Like I’ve been saying, I want to throw well and keep the team there and win the game,” Volstad said. “The streak, I guess that’s for you guys more than it is for me. There’s a little sense of relief to get it over with.”