Cubs Recap: Volstad with one bad (luck) inning, LaHair HR ties it up but RPs blow it

This is getting redundant.

Chris Volstad had a tough first inning in which he gave up a bunt single, a squibber to SS, a walk on some questionable calls, and then a couple of seeing eye grounders.  Only the last of the 5 singles was hit somewhat hard.  Yet it led to 4 runs.  He went on to pitch 5 scoreless innings on 3 hits.

The Cubs struggled to score runs for the first 6 innings, but that was partly due to an erratic day by home plate umpire Dale Scott.  Phillies pitcher Vance Worley was the beneficiary of some charitable calls and the Cubs struggled with the enlarged strike zone.

Still, after squandering a bases loaded opportunity in the 6th in which they only scored one run, the trio of Tony Campana, Starlin Castro, and Bryan LaHair once gain carried the offense.  After Campana walked and stole 2nd, Castro singled him home.  Then LaHair tied the game at 4 by pulling a low and away pitch into the RF stands for his 5th HR of the year.

The Cubs bullpen then lost the lead.  Scott Maine pitched pretty well but hit one batter and it eventually it cost him.  Rafael Dolis came in to relieve him and  Jimmy Rollins battled him for a single to put men on 1st and 3rd.  Then Dolis fell behind veteran Placido Polanco, who made him pay with a game winning 2 run double.

It's a game where the Cubs didn't really play all that badly, but this is a team with a small margin for error and tonight they did just enough to lose.

Filed under: Game Recap

Tags: Bryan LaHair, Chris Volstad


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  • How many games have they lost because of 1 bad inning.
    There is always 1 or more walks, an error, ball misplayed, etc.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    It's frustrating, isn't it? It's happened to Volstad 4 times now but he's not the only one. I'm still encouraged by him. He had good stuff today, had a 92-93mph sinker going today.

  • DeJesus got robbed every which way but gunpoint tonight. Wish Sveum would come out of the dugout and argue more. Liked the attention Dollis paid Rollins when he was the go ahead run at 1st. Maybe distracted him from his pitches though because even when they were 1st and 3rd he was still checking the runners back.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    That's right. I forgot to mention that. There was also a couple of questionable balk calls, including one which cost the Cubs an extra run in the 6th. Just a bad night for the umps and the Cubs aren't good enough to overcome that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I like the fight in this team though.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    They did battle back. That was nice to see. It didn't happen very often last year.

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    I completely agree, and in this division hovering around .500 then making a run is the way to win. The most frustrating thing is that everything has changed except how we lose, the little things.

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    I'm excited as the future just as much as they next guy, as my posts on here have suggested. But man if we just had a pen this year we could possibly make it a little easier to look at the standings

  • In reply to Nate Hummel:

    We'd be around .500 with a good bullpen, I think.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I completely agree, and in this division hovering around .500 then making a run is the way to win. The most frustrating thing is that everything has changed except how we lose, the little things. I'm not saying make a trade to sacrifice the future... just that one more arm to go too would be swell

  • In reply to Nate Hummel:

    Maybe they can find that arm when they trade off some of their parts. They really do need a couple of guys they can really rely on.

  • I didn't watch the first inning but seems like defense let Volstad down this time. He gave up 5H in the first but doesn't seem like they were hard hits.

  • In reply to furiousjeff:

    The bunt was on him, he didn't get off the mound quick enough and the squibber to SS was nobody's fault, the Cubs were playing Castro up the middle and it was a slow roller that barely reached the IF on the left side. Even if he was at the normal SS position it would have been a tough play, but he had a long way to go just to get to it, didn't even make a throw.

    The other balls were just well placed (and the last one was a pretty sharp grounder between Barney and LaHair).

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I see.. It's ridiculous how unlucky he is then.

  • In reply to furiousjeff:

    Some of it is on him, but he's had more than his share of bad luck this year. His BABIP is high and his strand rate is ridiculously low. Well over half the people that get on base score, that can't last forever.

  • Bring up Rusin and demote Volstad. We can do better, and we have nothing to lose...

  • In reply to pkm613:

    The results are misleading, the Phillies didn't hit him hard at all. After a few cheap hits to start the game, he completely shut them down. I think a lot of times when pitchers are on the verge of a breakthrough, they have that one tough inning. Garza struggled with that early last year. Not saying Volstad will be as good as Garza, but I think he'll be a solid pitcher all year. His stuff was pretty good today.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That may be the case, but how many more "bad" innings can we take? Obviously, I'd rather dump him, Soto, Soriano, and Marmol. Let Rusin, Cleavenger/Castillo, and for now, Mather/Campana, play!

    I'd much rather see the "kids play." Let them grow.

    You have far more patience, than me, John. ;)

  • In reply to pkm613:

    Ha! I'm a pretty laid back guy!

    You know that Rusin is actually older than Volstad? Volstad's the kid on this one. Rusin is kind of a finesse type guy, smoke and mirrors. I'd like to see him get a shot, but not at the expense of Volstad.

    If you look at Volstad's numbers other than ERA, they haven't been bad. He's not walking a lot of people or giving up a ton of hits overall. He's striking out a pretty good amount of hitters. There's no way his ERA can stay that high if he pitches like this all year. Sooner or later, it'll turn around. It has to. His numbers don't make much sense right now.

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    I see that every one is concentrating on the bad, but i want to look at the good. Volstad looked really good again, But i like the way Lahair is hitting. He seems to be looking like a real Mlb hitter.

  • In reply to Larry:

    LaHair looks really good and the Campana/Castro duo has been the new daily double. Campana gets on, gets into scoring position, and Castro gets him home.

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    It's kind of frustrating that we're off to this kind of start, because I'm really starting to see this division as up for grabs. Well, st. louis of course will be tough to beat, but I really don't think westbrook and lohse and lynn are going to be able to keep this up all year. I also think some of their hitters are playing out of their head. So I expect them to cool off some. Unfortunately, they are still the class of the division. But looking at the rest of the teams, there's not alot to be scared of. The brewers pitchers are struggling mightily and their offense isn't that great, the reds have votto and bruce on offense and that's it really, and their pitching is pretty mediocre, the pirates offense is even worse than the cubs and that's saying something, and houston is houston (actually they've been surprisingly better). I know we're not really trying to contend this year, but man, the opportunity sure is there to at least sneak in for contention to the wild card, and if st. louis falters, you never know? I'm really liking the cubs rotation so far, I think it will be solid all year. The bullpen if obviously a work in progress, but if they could stabilize that a bit and start getting some more power from stewart and soriano, and maybe some more punch from rizzo and jackson and at some point, I really still believe the Cubs can be competitive in this division this year. I just really think as nate said if you can be anywhere close to .500 in this division and get lucky and have a hot streak... the division just seems really weak this year.

  • In reply to Gary Kueper:

    I think their starting pitching is what gives them a chance to compete this year. They have 3 consistent offensive players and if they add another guy or two to that mix, maybe they can be better than we think. That bullpen, though. We really need to find a couple of consistent arms.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    So far we have Russell and Dolis looking like above average relievers and hopefully Castillo, Bowden , and Maine can become mainstays. If they all work out and you can add a Beliveau, Cabrera, Zych down the line this looks to be an above average penfor years if everything pans out.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Haven't written the minor league recap yet but Zych blew a save too yesterday. Not a good day for the bullpen anywhere!

  • I really want Rizzo and LaHair in the same lineup (i've only mentioned it 100 times already) but that would be HUGE!!!!!

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Got a find a way to unload Soriano. Thing is LaHair hasn't been playing OF at all this year, not even in spring training. I don't know if that's their plan.

  • I don't think the Cubs believe they will contend this year. Yes, the division is weak, but the Cubs don't have enough hitting to be a real player. As for Volstad, I don't think he's pitched bad enough to take him out of the rotation......yet

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    They probably don't and I don't think the Cubs will go out of their way to contend - not if it means sacrificing their future. If it's one of those crazy years where everything comes together, that's one thing, but Cubs aren't going to mess with rebuilding to win now.

  • BABIPed to death.

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    John, did you catch Hollandsworth's post game comments on Volstad? I thought he was pretty spot on about Volstad throwing his slider and changeup to much.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I'd agree on that. He had some pretty good velocity on that sinker yesterday, that was going to be a tough pitch to hit all day. If you've got a good fastball with good movement, you have to be aggressive with it. Volstad for as big a guy as he is, doesn't have that kind of demeanor on the mound. He should have gone right after those guys with that two seamer.

  • The Cubs are 5 and 4 since Byrd was traded. I think being a 500 team is possible. There will be more changes. New blood seems to be the ticket.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think the pitching is good enough, especially when Dempster comes back. Having Campana in there has sparked the offense so far, hope he keeps it up.

    On a side note: Byrd is hitting .333! Although he's been more like the 2011 singles hitting version of Byrd than 2010, only one double (and one walk) so far.

  • On April 20th, John wrote a great article on the Rizzo/LaHair Conundrum. He offered these possibilities: “You move LaHair to LF and replace Soriano. You move LaHair to RF, DeJesus to CF, and dump Byrd. You trade LaHair.” The second option is dead as they dealt Byrd but made no change. At the time, John believed in trading LaHair. I think he is spot on there. I think they should bring up Rizzo when the Cubs play the Twins on June 8th. LaHair can move to the DH spot for their interleague road games, and trade off with Soriano in the outfield otherwise. He is a bit older, but certainly could bring back more of a prized prospect than Soriano at this point. I would love to keep both but LaHair's defense is too much of a liability. If he keeps mashing, an AL team in contention will be salivating to get him and probably overpay for his services.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Thanks BTC. I don't like trading LaHair but he is very much an AL type player. He's a late bloomer, non-athletic masher...kind of like an old Theo find in David Ortiz -- although the chances of him being that good are very slim.

    The LF possibility hasn't been broached. I don't know if that's because they want LaHair to be comfortable and only cross that bridge when they come to it or if they truly believe he would hurt the team too much in the OF. Or maybe it's the back injury. It's probably a combination of all three.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I would agree with this. I can't think of another player on our team that isn't a fit long term and seems at their peak as far as value is concerned. Do you think teams will shy away because of the back?

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    I don't think so. It's better and it only affects his fielding. His hitting and power are still there. That ball yesterday barely made the stands but it was low and away -- and he pulled it out of the park. That's some strength.

  • John, now I don't any statistics but I gotta question Sveum in the 8th. With two outs, the speedy Pierre and switch-hitting Rollins up to bat, he takes the lefty Maine out for the righty Dolis. Now, why take out a lefty who can keep Pierre close at 1st and make it harder for him to steal 2nd? Also, I don't know statistics-wise, but I assume since most switch-hitter are better from left side than right side, that Rollins is better from his left side. Why not turn him around?

  • In reply to apalifer:

    I was thinking the same thing. I would have kept Maine in there. Rollins has really struggled as a lefty this year, but he's not tearing it up as a righty either. I'd have made him switch sides. As it is, I'd give some credit to Rollins on that one. He really battled for that hit. But Polanco was the one that irked me because Dolis fell behind and then served one up down the middle of the plate.

  • Trading Lahair will be a big regret if the NL adopts the dh next year as some believe will happen. I dispise the dh, but I fear that it could be in the cards.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I don't despise the DH as much as I used to. I think Matt Garza's attempts to hit this year alone has made a great case for the DH. That's not pretty to watch at all.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Good point. Having Lahair and Rizzo in the same lineup would make easier to adjust as well.

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