Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Braves – 07/03/12

Game Eighty: Cubs (30-49) vs. Braves (41-38)
Game Time – 6:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185/914
Location – Turner Field, Atlanta

Chris Volstad (0-6, 7.46/1.61) vs. Jair Jurrjens (1-2, 6.07/1.79)

Chris Volstad Recalled from Triple-A Iowa – Casey Coleman Optioned to Triple-A Iowa

Weather permitting
… Can the Cubs post their fifth straight win tonight with Chris Volstad on the mound? The Cubs posted a season best fourth straight victory on Monday night to open a very difficult seven-game road trip. Jeff Samardzija more than bounced back from a forgettable month. Now it is up to Chris Volstad to put his last year at the big league level behind him.

Chris Volstad will make his first big league start tonight since May 17 and not only he winless in his last 19 starts in the majors but the Cubs are 0-8 in the games he’s started this season. Casey Coleman was sent down to Triple-A Iowa following Monday’s game to make room for Volstad on the active roster.

In other newsAnthony Rizzo took responsibility for Starlin Castro’s apparent gaffe on Monday night. Dale Sveum greeted Starlin Castro when he came into the dugout and the Cubs’ skipper was not too happy with his shortstop. Rizzo told Sveum that the play was his fault. He told Castro to hold the ball not realizing how fast Dan Uggla can get down the line. Sveum apologized to Castro.

David DeJesus was held out of Monday’s lineup with a stiff neck. DeJesus is listed as day-to-day and is not expected to miss significant time.

Ryan Dempster threw 40 pitches off a mound Monday and depending on how he feels today will have another side session Wednesday. Dempster is on target to return during the series against Arizona at Wrigley after the All-Star break.

Ian Stewart will have surgery on his wrist next week and is likely done for the season. Stewart said on Twitter that he is hoping to return in September. Stewart managed just a .201/.292/.335/.627 line in 55 games with the Cubs this season. Stewart hit five home runs, five doubles and two triples. Stewart remains under the Cubs control for next year but is a non-tender candidate this off-season. Stewart is being paid $2.3755 million in his second year of arbitration eligibility.

Tonight it all begins with Chris Volstad

With Ryan Dempster on the shelf until after the break and Randy Wells no longer on the big league roster, Chris Volstad figures to get two chances before the break to show he can be an effective Major League pitcher. The new regime is beginning to weed out the pitchers that will not throw strikes, which has been an issue for Chris Volstad.

While Volstad’s walk totals are not that bad (15 in 41 innings), he often pitches from behind in the count. During his time in the Cubs’ rotation, Volstad has allowed 51 hits in 41 innings to go along with the 15 walks … 66 baserunners in 41 innings (eight starts).

The Cubs were happy with the way Chris Volstad pitched down at Triple-A. While the numbers do not look much better (2-3 in eight starts with a 4.44 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP, 12 walks, 41 strikeouts and 59 hits allowed in 50 2/3 innings) they claim his location has shown improvement. Volstad is coming off one of his longer outings of the season, a seven-inning start against Oklahoma City in which he allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.

It has been nearly a full calendar year since Chris Volstad posted a win in the majors. Volstad beat the Astros in Miami on July 10 after allowing three runs on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts in six innings of work … that is a string of 19 straight starts without a win and his new team is 0-8 in his eight starts this season.

Chris Volstad’s last big league start came on May 17 at Wrigley. The Phillies knocked him out, and down to the minors, after just two innings (four runs on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts).

Chris Volstad did not face the Braves earlier this season. Volstad owns a 2-4 career mark in nine starts against Atlanta with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP … at Turner Field, 2-2 in five starts with a 4.08 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.

Braves Career Numbers against Chris Volstad

  • Michael Bourn – 4-for-14 with a double and four walks
  • Matt Diaz – 2-for-2 with a double
  • Freddie Freeman – 3-for-7
  • Jason Heyward – 3-for-9 with two home runs and three walks
  • Eric Hinske – 3-for-8 with a home run and a walk
  • Chipper Jones – 4-for-15 with a walk
  • Jair Jurrjens – 1-for-4
  • Brian McCann- 4-for-24 with a home run and a walk
  • Martin Prado – 5-for-16 with two doubles
  • David Ross – 0-for-2
  • Dan Uggla – 2-for-6 with a double
  • Jack Wilson – 0-for-2

After just a horrible start to the season (0-2 in four starts with a 9.37 ERA and a 2.45 WHIP), the Braves sent Jair Jurrjens down to Triple-A for him to work things out. Jurrjens showed a little improvement and finished his minor league stint with a 3-4 record in 10 starts with a 5.18 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. Jurrjens walked 14, struck out 30 and allowed 68 hits in 57 1/3 innings. The Braves had no choice but to bring him back … and he’s responded quite well.

Jurrjens is 1-0 in his last two starts with a 2.03 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP with four walks and four strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings. Jurrjens dominated the Red Sox (one run on three hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings) but struggled somewhat in his last outing. Jurrjens allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and no strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. The Cubs must be patient tonight against Jair Jurrjens.

In four career starts against the Chicago Cubs, Jair Jurrjens is 1-1 with a 2.59 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP. Jurrjens did not face the Cubs at Wrigley in May and pitched 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball against the Cubs last August (five walks, one strikeout, eight hits).

Cubs Career Numbers against Jair Jurrjens

  • Jeff Baker – 1-for-4
  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-2 with two walks
  • Tony Campana – 1-for-1
  • Starlin Castro – 0-for-4
  • David DeJesus – 0-for-2
  • Joe Mather – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-2
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-11 with three doubles
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-3 with two walks
  • Chris Volstad – 1-for-3

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