Cubs Can’t Dig Out from Under Bad, Bad Chris Volstad – Cubs 7, Phillies 8

Game Thirty-Eight – Cubs 7, Phillies 8
WP – Roy Halladay (4-3) LP – Chris Volstad (0-6) Save – Jonathan Papelbon (11)

To the Cubs credit they never quit Thursday night and had the tying run on in the ninth after being down 8-2 going into the bottom of the eighth. The Cubs scored single runs in the seventh and eighth on home runs by Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a home run, a sac fly and two RBI) and Welington Castillo (2-for-4 with a home run, a double, four RBI and two runs scored) off Roy Halladay.

The Cubs then scored four in the ninth off rookie southpaw Jake Diekman. Welington Castillo delivered a two-out bases clearing double and scored on a single by Darwin Barney (2-for-4 with a RBI) off Jonathan Papelbon. Reed Johnson grounded out to third to end the game.

Thursday’s game was not as close as the final score. The Phillies jumped on Chris Volstad early and knocked him out of the game in the second inning. Volstad issued three walks to the first 10 batters he faced. The Phillies loaded the bases in both the first and second inning and he appeared to be trying too much once again. Volstad looked defeated when he left the mound following the second inning. Volstad allowed four runs on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts in just two innings. Volstad threw 58 pitches, 32 for strikes, in just two frames (28 pitches in the first, 30 in the second).

Chris Volstad dropped to a miserable 0-6 on the season. The Cubs are winless in the eight games (0-8) Volstad has started this season … 15-15 in the other 30.

Dale Sveum addressed the situation with Volstad after the game. Sveum said he would sit down with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to discuss Volstad’s spot in the rotation and what options the Cubs have to fill the spot. Sveum said that Travis Wood would be the logical choice to replace Volstad in the Cubs’ rotation if a change is made.

Casey Coleman took over for Volstad in the third and kept his team in the game. Coleman allowed one run on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts in four innings. Coleman threw 64 pitches, 36 for strikes.

Blake Parker made his big league debut after being called up from Iowa on Thursday. Parker put together an excellent seventh inning but Parker could not pitch out of a jam in the eighth. Parker put two on with no outs and after a wild pitch advanced runners to second and third, Parker appeared to get out of the inning. Parker bobbled a comebacker off the bat of Hunter Pence and threw the ball down the right field line. Parker’s throwing error led to three unearned runs for the Phillies in the eighth.

The Cubs finished the season series with a 2-4 record against the Phillies.

With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 15-23 on the season …

Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a single to right center (2-1 pitch). Juan Pierre chopped a 0-1 pitch over Volstad that Castro fielded and threw to first just in time to nail Pierre. Rollins advanced to second. Volstad then lost his command and walked Shane Victorino (3-1 pitch).

With runners on first and second with one down, Volstad focused and struck out Hunter Pence swinging on three excellent breaking balls.

Carlos Ruiz slashed a 1-0 pitch into left center. Rollins scored and the Phillies took a 1-0 lead. On a 2-2 pitch to Ty Wigginton, the Phillies pulled off a double steal. Volstad missed then walked Wigginton on his next pitch. With the bases loaded and two down, Hector Luna fouled out to Welington Castillo (3-2 pitch) to end the inning. Volstad threw 28 pitches in the first, 14 for strikes.

David DeJesus led off the Cubs’ first with a double to right center. Tony Campana bunted back to Halladay and nearly beat out the throw to first. DeJesus advanced to third with one down.

Starlin Castro and Dale Sveum discussed Castro’s approach at the plate Thursday after Castro had one of his worst at bats of the season in the first inning of Wednesday’s game. Castro appeared to change his two-strike approach and ended up lining out to Juan Pierre in left. DeJesus tagged and scored standing. Juan Pierre made an excellent diving catch to take a hit away from Bryan LaHair to end the first.

Chris Volstad continued to struggle in the second. After Volstad retired Freddy Galvis on a comebacker, Roy Halladay singled to right. Volstad then walked Jimmy Rollins and gave up a single to Juan Pierre (right field, 2-2 pitch). Halladay stopped at third with one out.

Shane Victorino grounded a 1-0 pitch to LaHair. Halladay scored on the fielder’s choice. Rollins and Pierre advanced to second and third on the play.

Hunter Pence ripped a 1-1 pitch back up the middle and into center. Rollins and Pierre scored, the Phillies took a 4-1 lead and the game was basically over. Carlos Ruiz singled to center but Ty Wigginton could not keep the line moving. Wigginton struck out swinging on Volstad’s last pitch of the night.

Chris Volstad threw 58 pitches in two innings, 32 for strikes.

After Alfonso Soriano grounded Halladay’s first pitch of the second to short, Ian Stewart blooped a 1-0 pitch into left. Welington Castillo grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the second. Roy Halladay threw 16 pitches in two innings, 13 for strikes.

Casey Coleman took over in the third … and sat the Phillies down in order on 14 pitches, seven for strikes.

Darwin Barney (grounded out to third, 0-2 pitch) and Casey Coleman (struck out on three pitches) made two quick outs to start the third. David DeJesus singled to center (1-1 pitch). Before a 1-0 pitch to Campana, DeJesus broke for second too soon. Halladay stepped off, threw to Rollins to end the inning.

Coleman retired the Phillies in order in the fourth … and the Cubs went down in order quickly in the home half.

At the end of four, the Cubs trailed 4-1.

The Phillies added to their lead in the fifth after Hunter Pence led off the inning with a double. Pence advanced to third on a wild pitch with Ruiz at the plate then trotted home when Ruiz singled to right. Wigginton popped out to center (2-1 pitch) and Luna popped out to Castro for the second out. Coleman fell behind Freddy Galvis 3-1 before the Phillies’ second baseman ripped a single into right. Ruiz advanced to third but both runners were stranded when Halladay hit Coleman’s first pitch to second.

After three innings of work, Casey Coleman had thrown 48 pitches, 27 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth. Roy Halladay completed five innings of work on 55 pitches, 39 for strikes.

Casey Coleman started his fourth inning of work by striking out Jimmy Rollins looking. Juan Pierre dragged a bunt up the first base line. Coleman fielded the ball but when he went to throw to first, no one was covering the bag. Coleman walked Victorino but retired Pence (flied out to center) and Ruiz (grounded out to short) to end the inning.

Casey Coleman did his job and not only ate innings but kept the Phillies from blowing out the Cubs again.

Darwin Barney led off the sixth with a single to center. Adrian Cardenas hit for Coleman and flied out to center (1-1 pitch). After DeJesus struck out swinging, Campana tried to bunt his way on but Luna fielded the ball, dove and tagged out Campana to end the inning.

After six complete, the Cubs trailed 5-1.

Blake Parker made his big league debut in the seventh and struck out the first batter he faced, Ty Wigginton. Hector Luna reached on an infield single that Castro fielded behind the second base bag but Freddy Galvis grounded into a 3-6 double play to end the inning.

Blake Parker had a very efficient seventh inning … 10 pitches, seven for strikes.

Starlin Castro led off the seventh with his second home run of the season, his first of the year at Wrigley Field. Castro’s solo shot cut the Phillies lead to 5-2. Juan Pierre then took another hit away from Bryan LaHair … this one was a diving, head-long catch near the line. Alfonso Soriano followed with a single to left. Ian Stewart worked the count to 3-2 before hitting into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Blake Parker stayed in and Roy Halladay greeted him with a single to right to start the eighth. Jimmy Rollins walked and Parker was in trouble. Welington Castillo simply missed a 0-1 offering from Parker. The passed ball allowed both runners to advance ninety feet. With the infield in, Pierre grounded out to second and both runners had to hold. Parker then struck out Victorino looking for the second out.

Hunter Pence tapped a 3-2 pitch back to the mound. Parker fielded but bobbled the ball then threw it into the Phillies’ bullpen. Instead of escaping the jam, two runs scored and Parker’s Major League debut came to an end.

With the Phillies up 7-2, Pence at second and two outs, Michael Bowden took over and Reed Johnson replaced Soriano in left. Carlos Ruiz ripped a 1-2 pitch to right for a double, Pence scored and the Phillies were ahead by a touchdown at 8-2. Bowden struck out Wigginton swinging to end the inning.

Welington Castillo led off the eighth and launched a 3-2 pitch into the bleachers in left center. Darwin Barney fouled out to Galvis, Reed Johnson grounded out to short and DeJesus flied out to center to end the inning.

Other than a two-out, pinch-hit single by Mike Fontenot, the Phillies did nothing against Michael Bowden in the ninth.

With the Phillies up 8-3, lefty Jake Diekman started the ninth by issuing a four-pitch walk to Tony Campana. Campana took second with Castro at the plate. Castro flied out to left center … John Mayberry Jr. made a nice running catch to take away a hit and a RBI from the Cubs’ shortstop. Jeff Baker hit for LaHair and walked. With two on and one out, Joe Mather hit a flare into shallow right that Freddy Galvis made a nice leaping catch on for the second out. Ian Stewart was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs.

Welington Castillo stepped in and pulled a 2-2 pitch down the left field line. Campana, Baker and Stewart scored and all of the sudden the Cubs were within two runs. Castillo ended up at second with the bases clearing double.

Charlie Manuel made the slow walk and brought in Jonathan Papelbon to close it out.

Darwin Barney ripped a single into center. Castillo scored and the Cubs were within a run … but Reed Johnson grounded out to third (1-2 pitch) to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs and White Sox kick off their annual friendly get together Friday afternoon … Jeff Samardzija against Philip Humber in game one at Wrigley.

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