Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 08/09/12

Game One Hundred Ten: Cubs (43-66) vs. Reds (66-45)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet- Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Chris Volstad (0-8, 7.22/1.57) vs. Mike Leake (4-7, 4.51/1.34)

Weather permitting … The Cubs begin a seven-game homestand tonight with the first of four against the first place Cincinnati Reds. After just a miserable six-game road trip and being outscored 40-16 over the last eight games, Dale Sveum’s team must be looking forward to being back at home. The Cubs have played much better at Wrigley (27-24) than away from the old ballyard (16-42) this season.

Eight of the Cubs next 11 games are against the Reds. Following this four-game series, the Cubs host the Astros for three then depart for the Queen City. The Cubs play four-games next weekend at Great American Ball Park that includes their first doubleheader of the season (day-night twin bill on Saturday as a make-up for the game on May 1 that was rained out).

The Cubs struggling offense will not get a break over the next four days. After tonight’s matchup of Chris Volstad and Mike Leake, Justin Germano opposes Homer Bailey on Friday. Travis Wood will face his old team for the first time on Saturday with Bronson Arroyo taking the hill for Dusty Baker. Sunday’s finale is expected to be Brooks Raley against Johnny Cueto.

The Cubs have only played five games against Cincinnati this season (2-3) and will face the Reds 11 times over the next five weeks. The Reds begin play tonight just 2 1/2 games ahead of second place Pittsburgh after losing all three games in Milwaukee. With 11 games remaining against the Reds and seven more with the Pirates, the Cubs could have an impact on which team wins the division.

Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters and Brooks Raley will make their Wrigley Field debut this weekend … and Jackson is expected back in the starting lineup tonight. The three newest Cubs have struggled in their short time with the big club and hopefully the fan base will realize all of the young players on the Cubs roster are going through a process that will take time to produce positive, consistent results.

Tonight it all begins with Chris Volstad …

Chris Volstad is coming off another loss (winless in last 21 big league starts) but it was still his best start at the Major League level this season. Volstad did not implode and allowed two runs on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts in seven innings. Volstad appeared to follow the game plan while not thinking too much. His last outing was the first time all year he completed seven innings of work.

Volstad has struggled mightily at Wrigley in a Cubs’ uniform and it does not figure to get any easier for him tonight. In five starts at Wrigley this season, Volstad is 0-4 with an 8.22 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP.

The Reds beat up on Volstad at Wrigley back on April 20. Volstad allowed six runs, five earned, on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings. For his career, Volstad is 1-3 in four starts against the Redlegs with a 5.32 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP.

Reds Career Numbers against Chris Volstad

  • Jay Bruce – 3-for-11 with a double and a walk
  • Miguel Cairo – 0-for-3 with a walk
  • Zack Cozart – 1-for-3
  • Ryan Hanigan – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Chris Heisey – 1-for-3
  • Ryan Ludwick – 1-for-2 with a double and a walk
  • Devin Mesoraco – 1-for-1 with a walk
  • Xavier Paul – 1-for-3 with a home run
  • Brandon Phillips – 3-for-7 with two walks
  • Scott Rolen – 0-for-5 with a walk
  • Drew Stubbs – 2-for-6 with a double

Mike Leake has struggled since the break after putting together a solid first half. Leake was 2-0 in six starts in June with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP and appeared to take the next step in his career. But since the break, Leake is 1-1 in five starts with a 6.33 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP.

The Reds beat the Pirates in Leake’s last start but he did not figure in the outcome. Leake allowed four runs on six hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in six innings. For as much as Leake has struggled of late, the Reds are 6-4 in his last 10 starts.

Mike Leake has been very good on the road this season (3-3 in nine starts with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP) and has pretty much owned the Cubs during his career. Even with allowing five runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings to the Cubs at Wrigley on April 21, Leake is 4-2 in eight career starts against the Cubs with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Mike Leake

  • Darwin Barney – 6-for-12 with two double
  • Starlin Castro – 8-for-22 with two doubles, a triple and a walk
  • Steve Clevenger – 2-for-3
  • David DeJesus – 2-for-3
  • Bryan LaHair – 2-for-5 with a home run and a walk
  • Joe Mather – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-13 with a walk

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    DeJesus – RF
    Barney – 2B
    Rizzo – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Castro – SS
    Valbuena – 3B
    Jackson – CF
    Clevenger – C
    Volstad – P

    • BosephHeyden

      I think I’d be more upset about the third base platoon if it wasn’t for the fact that football starts tonight!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From ESPN Chicago: Cubs say 50-50 that this game is played. They already are looking into a makeup date.

  • cubtex

    OK. So the pitching matchup for the next 3 games are all righthanded pitchers. Today Mike Leake is going(a very hittable pitcher) So what will Sveum do with Vitters the next 3 days? It seems as if he will not play him 2 days in a row. Here is who the Cubs will face this series.
    Bailey
    Arroyo
    Cueto

    Will he play Valbuena everyday against the rhp? Will he play Vitters every other day? Who knows but whatever Sveum is doing….he is setting up Vitters to fail!

    • Tony_Hall

      Please see my reply to Paul, because I guess Ron Washington and the Texas Rangers are setting MIke Olt up for failure.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Could be. They are going to platoon him with Mitch Moreland at 1B. Of course Texas in is a pennant race, and Moreland is hitting just .216 vs LHP, so Olt gets the ABs vs LHP.

        Checking Olt’s stats in the MiL this year, we see….

        He was called up from AA. Okay, so Texas wants to win the division, and are willing to risk development time for Olt to let him platoon with Moreland.

        He fans alot, too. 101 K in 354 AB. More power than Vitters or Jackson with 28 HR.

        I think Texas is desperate for more offense at 1B vs LHP.

        • Tony_Hall

          Yes they are, and him playing the month of August in Texas versus the minors, will benefit him, even if he only plays around 1/3 of the time. Being around major leaguers, major league coaches, etc, will benefit him.

          I don’t think they are risking his development at all, as long as he plays more than just Sunday’s (not sure what manager would have done that).

          • Ripsnorter1

            Yup. You are right. Keep him up to help the offense for the playoff push and guard him closely. He’s actually done okay. 14 PA…9 AB…2 singles, 2 sac flies, 3 BB…4 K….

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Tonight’s game is officially in a rain delay, no word yet on a possible start time.

      • cubtex

        Apples to oranges.

        • Tony_Hall

          No, not at all. Development is development.

          • cubtex

            Why did the Orioles bring up Machado from AA? Development? All hands on deck when a team is trying to win.

          • Tony_Hall

            Absolutely! And yet his development won’t be stunted if he doesn’t play everyday.

          • cubtex

            So you agree it is apples to oranges. You are finally understanding that one team is trying to win and we are one of the worst teams in the league.
            One question..Why is Volstad starting everygame the rest of the year no matter what? Development? Wouldn’t he be better observing instead of getting lit up every start? Ha

          • Tony_Hall

            Yes, one team is trying to win and one team is building a foundation for the future. But no, the develop of players is the same. If it hurts one player to not play everyday, it would hurt the other.

            And Volstad is starting every game the rest of the year, man, his arm is going to fall off. I thought he was going to watch 4 out of 5 games and watch and learn from the other starters. I’ve been in favor of 4 and 6 man rotations, when they make sense, but never heard of a 1 man rotation….

          • Tony_Hall

            Remember the minor league season ends in about a month. 2 months of part time play at the major league level is more experience than 1 month of full time play in the minors.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Homer Bailey is awful.
      Mike Leake is near to awful.
      Bronson Arroyo is awful.
      Dusty Baker’s management of a pitching staff is very poor.

      The Reds could easily collapse….to the CARDS!

    • Ripsnorter1

      Gotta love that lineup tonight.

      Castro at #5.
      Valbuena has moved up to #6.
      Jackson down to #7.

      I’m a little surprised that Soriano is playing in the rain, too.

  • paulcatanese

    I would have liked to see Vitters in tonight, in and out can’t be good for him.
    And Sveum dosent have any more of a clue than the manager from last year as to where to hit Castro. He has flourished in the number 1 or 2 spot, and I believe he has not done well anywhere else, particularly in the 5 spot. IMO it plays too much with his mental approach.

    • Tony_Hall

      Just a question, the Rangers brought up Mike Olt, a much higher rated prospect than Vitter or BJAx. Yet they aren’t starting him. He is a bench player, getting a start here and there. 9 AB’s in over a week.

      Are they ruining him?

      • paulcatanese

        Different circumstance’s Tony, the Rangers are fighting a legtimate run at post season play and that is foremost the important thing over him playing.
        The Cubs are going nowhere and their is no point in not playing someone who could be part of the future,
        that is supposed to be the important fact for the Cubs.

        • Tony_Hall

          But if playing part time is bad for the development, it is bad for the development.

          I for one would like to see Vitters play 50-75% of the time against RH pitchers and all the time against LH pitchers. And until the season is over, we don’t know if that won’t happen. It could easily be just the first week or two, that they are being this cautious with his playing time.

          • cubtex

            Why 50%? What will you learn from that? Sure Vitters can hit the average rhp….but not the better. Or……if Vitters cannot hit the average rhp….he sure as hell can’t hit the better. This is a lost season. We are not the Rangers.

          • Tony_Hall

            Do you believe you can only learn by being on the field?

            Playing 50-75% of the time against RH pitchers, will be starting at least 6 and as much as 8 games out of 10. It’s not like he is sitting the bench, playing on Sunday’s. That consistent days off, can help a young player, by being able to work more in the cage or on grounders, and by watching the games, which can help slow the game down for him.

            Absolutely nothing wrong with that.

          • cubtex

            You do that IF he starts to struggle by playing everyday…not before. We have Luis F##### Valbuena at 3rd for crying out loud.

          • Tony_Hall

            I am sure your way works best. Speaking of developing young players, how many have you developed….

          • cubtex

            Being a former player….I know what I would want. It is not to sit and watch and not play back to back games.

          • brent carmona

            *sigh* you guys just always want to fight for the full 12 rounds don’t yall? :) enjoy the debate always between you two though.

          • Tony_Hall

            I can appreciate your thoughts, being a former player, and getting to such a high level. But let me ask you this, do you think that Dale Sveum and his coaching staff have just a little bit more experience than you, at much higher levels, that they might, just might, have a better idea of how to develop players, especially players they actually get to talk to and work with and see actual scouting reports from coaches they pay. Do you think it is possible that they don’t have a one size fits all approach, and feel that this is the best way to develop Vitters and BJAX, Volstad, etc. They seem to have pushed all the right buttons so far with Rizzo, in such a small sample size, he has come up and looked like a productive major league player. Neither of Vitters and BJAX are up for good, unless they prove it on the field. They will be back in Iowa, needing to work on some things that they learned in their 2 month call-up and ST.

            Is any of this possible?

        • brent carmona

          Yes his numbers were best in the one or two hole in his career, but he is in the worst slump of his career (been batting two almosyt always) so why not bat him fifth? He doesn’t deserve to bat in the top of the order the way he has been hitting.

          And since when does Castro change his mental approach? I don’t think he has ever changed his approach, always hack hack hack, rarely shows patience. I don’t think it messes with his head, and why would it just because you are batting in a different part of the batting order?

          • paulcatanese

            You are probably right Brent. At this point, he dosent belong at the top of the order,agree.
            But batting 1 or 2 in the order, his hacking does not impact the team as much as 3 or 5
            when their are runners on base.
            In the 1-2 hole, he is thinking of himself (as usual), but when he is in the 3 spot or the 5
            hole he takes on the responsebility of those spots and thinks he has to produce even more, 3 being the best hitter on the team, and 5 being a run producer and pushes more.
            IMO he belongs 1-2 where he only has thoughts for himself.

          • Dorasaga

            He also has an erratic throwing of an arm. It’s been 3 years now with the Cubs. He might not improve.

          • paulcatanese

            See my post above Brent:)

          • Dorasaga

            Soriano game-winning dinger!

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            11 straight seasons with 20 or more homers for Soriano

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Trevor-Petersma/565104388 Trevor Petersma

            Just got back from slowpitch in time to watch the last inning. Blame it on the after game beers, but I just had a good feeling about that Sori at-bat. Glad my gut was right for once!! Let’s finish this Marmol!

        • cubtex

          Exactly. One team is trying to win a WS……and one team is trying to…..well trying to…..I don’t know what they are trying to do. But all I know is if all the Cubs have is Valbuena at 3rd…..Vitters should play every inning of every game regardless.

    • Sho Nuff

      Honestly, until Castro shows he can be patient and look for better pitches he has no business hitting 1-6. His OBP is not much different than his avg. Until he corrects that he is just a really good 7-8 hitter, which I would be fine with since we get really poor production from the bottom of the order.

      Also, I know this isn’t going to be a popular comment but here goes. I think they called up Jackson and Vitters prematurely. Both were criticized for plate discipline and contact issues at AAA. What does bringing them up now really do for them? I don’t really see anything positive coming from this. Theo is preaching patience for the next couple of seasons, maybe he should take his own advice here. I was really hoping to see more Campana, oh and a lot less LaHair.

    • paulcatanese

      Of course, I post above and Castro hits a double and drives in two runs.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Ron Washington…since you brought him up….

    I wonder if he isn’t Dusty Baker Jr. Yu Darvish is having some trouble with the workload. The Rangers don’t have any starters better than a #4, unless you consider Ryan Dempster to be that one (I don’t think he’ll do as well in Texas as in Chicago).

    And now you tell me that Washington prefers the vets over rookies–just like Dusty.

    Sure, he can ruin MIke Olt.

    • Tony_Hall

      I am positive that Nolan Ryan will allow Ron Washington to ruin him…right.

      • cubtex

        Yea. The Rangers need Sveum! He will lead them to the promised land!

        • Tony_Hall

          I am sure he would. That roster is pretty impressive, that they built over time.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I don’t understand the Vitters playing time thing. I would think that Jackson, with his huge K numbers, and his poor BA in AAA Iowa would warrant more bench time and protection. I don’t want to buy the idea that it’s his glove holding him back.

    Whatever.

    The net result is that we have no offense right now.

    This offseason we need to buy some bats.

    • Tony_Hall

      I actually agree with you, I would have expected BJAX to not face lefties, more than Vitters would not face righties. I bet he gets more starts against RH pitchers as the weeks go by.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    First pitch scheduled for 8:00pm CDT

    • Dorasaga

      Good to know. You’re the best.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Tarp is going back on the field

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Estimated start time now at 8:25pm CDT

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.canavan.14 Jim Canavan

    Vitters, Bjax they should be playing everyday. No pressure, lets see what they can do.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Game on …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    And Volstad served up a leadoff homer …

    • Ripsnorter1

      I feel pretty good about that. I want him to keep his record up. He’s making $4 million….and I don’t want the Cubs to resign him.

      • Tony_Hall

        Actually $2.665M…

        • Ripsnorter1

          No. $4 million when one includes the bonus money other batters are paying him to keep grooving his slider to them.

          • Tony_Hall

            You may be underestimating then :)

          • Ripsnorter1

            LOL.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Just bored waiting for the rain delay to end, so I checked on Mr. 196..aka, Carlos Pena. Imagine my shock that he has now shrunk to Mr. .195. Yup, Tampa Bay has found that Mr. Pena is good for a .195 BA. It seems he is hitting .163 vs LHP this year (up from .133 vs LHP while a Cub). But his .210 BA vs RHP is a decline over last year’s resurgent .255 vs RHP.

    SO what’s the big problem? He’s lost his power. Last year .462 slug vs .323 this year.

    The toast is starting to burn.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another solid play from Rizzo

  • cubtex

    Can someone explain to me why Volstad who 0-8 with a 7.22 ERA is being told he will start the rest of the year…….Regardless. Shouldn’t he only pitch against the Astros or Rockies to get his confidence up? Kind of like someone who is only playing against LHP. Volstad is only 25 and Sveum and his staff need to develop him the “Cubs Way” Have him sit next to Vitters and Volstad can watch how Germano, Travis Wood etc handle certain hitters and Vitters can watch how Valbuena crushes the ball and plays as good a 3rd base as anyone in the league. The Cubs are a development machine!

    • Ripsnorter1

      Nice post, Rip.

      You are starting to sound like Ripsnorter.

      LOL

      Well, we are told our I.Q. isn’t high enough to follow Team Theo’s reasonings. LOL

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Rizzo with a hustle double

        • Tom U

          Dan Vogelbach goes deep again for his fifth home run. Boise and Everett tied 1-1 in the top of the second.

          • Zonk

            Probably a little early to elevate him to top 100 status…but big boy has been impressive so far. I’d like to see him mash a higher level, but so far so good. Stock is rising.
            A little more, maybe he’ll get a peek at Peoria

          • Zonk

            PS: And, if he emerges as a real prospect, and Rizzo continues to impress, he’s probably trade bait. But we have so many needs, I’m sure we could find a use…..

          • Aaron

            Tom,

            You have already pointed this out several times this year, but I think it’s worth mentioning again…

            The Cubs’ roster management and player development this year is beyond comprehension, considering these are the same supposed geniuses that knew how to get it turned around.

            I don’t think you “turn it around” by saying you’re in the “earn it business” according to both Theo and Sveum this Spring Training, by promoting the likes of Soler, who clearly didn’t earn it, and keeping the likes of Amaya, Vogelbach, etc. down.

            Don’t get me wrong, I understand they want to get the most out of their investment in him, but you’re not doing yourself any favors by promoting a guy that didn’t earn it….ESPECIALLY a jump up TWO levels….not only because he might struggle there, but also because it sends the wrong message to all of your other prospects.

          • Tom U

            Aaron, I agree with what you are saying. But after reflecting on things for a while, I may have a different way to look at it.

            Sometimes in development, continuity is more helpful. Boise is now starting to play good baseball, and part of the reason is some improved play from outfielders Trey Martin and Izaac Garsez. There also seems to be a good rotation going, with Dong-Yub Kim and Xavier Batista getting playing time in left, while infielders Willson Contreras, Steven Bruno, and Rock Shoulders are getting spot starts.

            The front office may not want to upset that, while Peoria can use some help in the outfield, where even Wes Darvill and Paul Hoilman have seen some playing time lately. At this point, Jorge Soler probably wouldn’t be any worse than Yasiel Balaguert, and can possibly be better than Oliver Zapata.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Vogelbach hit another one, two homers on the night for Vogelbach

          • Tony_Hall

            I am always amazed how people can take a move and make it a negative…and yet others look at it as a positive.

            Here is another take on the skipping of a whole level by Soler.

            “Soler was hitting just .241 with 2 HRS in Arizona but you should always take rookie league stats with a grain of salt. Soler has shown the kinds of tools it takes to succeed at the upper levels. He has shown legit power with superior bat speed, he has run the bases well, played good defense, and has even shown some solid plate discipline with a 10% walk rate (small sample, of course). ”

            Players all the time get drafted or signed, go to Arizona and then SKIP Boise, and sometimes even skip Peoria as well and go to Daytona.
            I am not sure how Soler has clearly not earned going to Peoria. I guess we will find out over the next month, if he is over-matched at this level, that by your thoughts is way above his head.

          • cubtex

            it is not surprising you are defending the promotion……after all…..you defend every move everytime with team Theo. At least you are consistent.

          • Tom U

            Vogelbach ties thing up again with his second homer of the game. 2-2 in the top of the seventh.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Soriano with a two-run shot

          • Dorasaga

            And all the way across centerfield. That’s LOOOONG. I was wondering if this game can carry on under such rain, but glad it did.

    • Zonk

      I’m not defending Volstad’s performance this year, but who else would you rather see? Casey Coleman?
      And to his credit, Volstad was decent last outing, and so far has been “serviceable” today

      • BosephHeyden

        Jumping in now that the Bears game is in the 4th and they’re down to the “no chance” guys, but keep this in mind: they gave Volstad TWO MONTHS in which he showed nothing. They gave Coleman one start and pulled the plug…to go back to Volstad, who, without watching (and having no desire to watch) this game, seems like he’s doing what he usually does. And that’s not even to mention that Volstad has been steadily getting worse in the seasons previous to this, whereas Coleman was in his second year.

        So yeah, I’d prefer that they went the Coleman-over-Volstad route because he’s now had three managers transition him between the pen, starting, and the minors, and it would be somewhat interesting to see what he could do if given a steady stream of starts for a prolonged period of time.

        Or, you know, they could call up Rusin. Then again, there’s probably six or seven guys that will go on waivers that they can consider before Rusin.

        • Tony_Hall

          Volstad has been effective since coming back up…maybe, just maybe he could be an effective #5.

          8/04 – 7 IP – 2 ER – 6 H – 1 BB – 3 K’s
          8/09 – 6 IP – 3 ER – 6 H – 2 BB – 4 K’s

          3.46 ERA
          1.15 WHIP

          I know it’s only 2 starts, but that is more than respectable. And if you look at last nights game 2 of the runs came in the 1st, when he had warmed up twice to start the game due to the rain. A

          • cubtex

            Wow! You are taking his last 2 starts and saying he now can be an effective #5? This is the stuff that really is amazing to me Tony. I love you defending everything Cubs….but Please Please Please…..take a step back sometimes and be realistic. Take a look at his numbers at AAA Iowa before he was promoted.

            Chris Volstad AAA Iowa Numbers

            3-5 5.17 ERA 71.1 IP 86 Hits and teams were hitting .296 against him

            He will be non tendered

          • Tony_Hall

            Here is what I said:

            “Volstad has been effective since coming back up…maybe, just maybe he could be an effective #5.”

            You must have missed the maybe, just maybe part.

            Do you think the rotation is going be full of studs next year?

    • Tony_Hall

      Maybe it has to do with how much it will cost to keep him for next year? He is being given the last 2 months to show whether or not he made any improvements in AAA. And, if you have watched his starts since coming back up, he has been more effective.

      • cubtex

        So after watching him pitch this year….you will tender him which will result in a salary of over 3 mil. To me…..it is a no brainer. No way they should tender him and therefore…..you shouldn’t be pitching him now. He is not part of the future.

        • Tony_Hall

          A starting major league pitcher for $3M is not that much.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Clevenger ejected after a 0-2 pitch that was called a ball with one out in the fifth.

  • Dorasaga

    Good catch by Reds catcher. And Barney on base by a hit. Good timing for more clutch!

  • Dorasaga

    Finally, CLUTCH Castro! Thought it be a homer, but hey, will take a game-tying double anytime.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Castro with a game tying double … just missed a three-run shot.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    A quality start for Volstad … but a no-decision, 22 straight without a win.

    • paulcatanese

      Agree Neil, but have to think Volstad would go with no-decisions the rest of the year if he has the same result as
      tonight, a win at the end.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Rizzo with an excellent at bat against Marshall. Down 1-2 and worked a walk.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    No word on new start time. Chris Volstad had warmed up.