It seems that Chris Volstad can throw 4-5 very good innings and somewhere in there is one bad inning. It' s that one bad inning that has cost him this season.
In fact, in his last 3 starts he's had one inning where he's given up 3 runs or more. Take away those three innings and Volstad has a 1.80 ERA in the other 15. That's 18 innings and 3 bad ones, and that has made the difference between a guy who could be establishing himself as a future rotation piece to a guy with a question mark after his name.
It looked like the Cubs were battling and setting themselves up for some more late inning drama. The game was tied 1-1 in the 5th, courtesy of Bryan LaHair's 4th HR of the year. Volstad had pitched 5 innings of 3 hit baseball with no walks. Then the wheels came off again. After a leadoff single, Volstad came within one out of escaping. But Carlos Beltran foiled those plans with a double and then David Freese hit a two run HR to seal the Cubs fate.
The bullpen was solid with Scott Maine pitching another scoreless inning, though he did fall behind 3-0 on two different hitters. It's that kind of spotty control that will keep Maine from getting more significant innings in the short term.
Carlos Marmol also pitched a scoreless inning and continues to excel when the game isn't on the line. Marmol's velocity is back so far this year and his command has been better, so you have to wonder if his confidence in high leverage situations has been shaken a bit. It's something I'm sure he would deny, but there's no denying he's been more effective in non-save situations.
Shawn Camp allowed the only other run in the game.
I guess if you would have told me before the series that the Cubs would take 2 out of 3, I'd have been happy with it, but this one still left a bad taste in my mouth. Through the 5th inning, it looked like the Cubs were in position to sweep the Cards, but one bad inning by Volstad once again ruined in otherwise well-pitched game.