Volstad Hammered … Cubs Swept – Cubs 5, Rockies 7

Game One Hundred Fifty-Six – Cubs 5, Rockies 7
WP – Jhoulys Chacin (3-5) LP – Chris Volstad (3-11) Save – Rafael Betancourt (31)

The Cubs lost their fifth game in a row on Thursday afternoon as the Rockies completed the three-game sweep by outslugging the Cubs once again. Dale Sveum’s team tried to come from four runs down in the ninth but the Cubs left the tying runs in scoring position. The Cubs dropped to 0-16 on the road this season against teams from the National League West (11-4 at Wrigley against teams from the NL West).

The Rockies pounded Cubs pitching for the third day in a row. Tyler Colvin (1-for-4 with a run scored) and D.J. LeMahieu (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) helped lead Colorado’s 12-hit attack … and LeMahieu’s two-run homer ended up being the difference in the game. For the series, Colorado scored 23 runs on 37 hits in 22 at bats.

Chris Volstad was horrible once again and gave up seven runs on 10 hits in just three innings … the second start this season that Volstad gave up 10 hits in a single outing. Volstad surrendered seven hits to the first nine batters and allowed runs in each of his three innings. The Rockies scored five of their seven runs on two swings of the bat … a three-run homer by Jordan Pacheco and a two-run line drive homer off the bat of D.J. LeMahieu in the second. Volstad did not walk or strikeout a batter but hit one, threw 65 pitches (45 strikes) and if not for the defense turning two double plays while he was on the mound, his outing might have been worse than it was on Thursday afternoon.

The Cubs bullpen shut out the Rockies over the last five innings. Rafael Dolis (no runs, one hit with a strikeout and no walks in two innings), Alberto Cabrera (no runs, one hit with no walks and two strikeouts in two innings) and Jaye Chapman (no runs, no hits, one walk and one strikeout in one inning) gave the offense a chance to chip away at the Rockies lead.

Anthony Rizzo (3-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and two walks) had a huge day. Rizzo reached in each of his five plate appearances, hit his 15th home run and collected two RBI. Alfonso Soriano (2-for-5 with a double and a RBI) notched his 106th RBI of the season with a run scoring double in the ninth. Luis Valbuena (2-for-3 with a run scored) scored the Cubs’ first run on a RBI single by Brett Jackson (1-for-2 with a RBI and a walk) in the second inning.

The Cubs outhit the Rockies (13-12) and scored five runs on 13 hits (two for extra bases). The Cubs finished the game 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners on base.

Darwin Barney (1-for-5 with a run scored) made history on Thursday at Coors Field. Barney did not commit an error for the 141st straight game. Barney tied the all-time single-season mark (141) for consecutive games by a second baseman without an error set by Placido Polanco in 2007.

With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs not only dropped to 59-97 on the season, but they also lost for the 56th time on the road this season (22-56). The 56 losses ties the franchise record for the most road losses in a single-season set in 1956.

Other than a two-out walk by Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs did nothing in the first inning. Jhoulys Chacin threw only 13 pitches in the first innings, eight for strikes.

Josh Rutledge reached on a swinging bunt up the third baseline to start the first inning. Rutledge then swiped second with Charlie Blackmon at the plate. Blackmon bunted his way on and Chris Volstad was in a heap of trouble without a ball leaving the infield. Jordan Pacheco stepped in with runners on first and third with no outs and launched a 0-1 pitch into the bleachers in left … and just like that, the Cubs were down 3-0. Wilin Rosario followed with an infield single to the hole at short. Four hits to the first four batters and only one left the infield. Tyler Colvin stepped in and grounded into a 1-6-3 double play. Volstad then plunked Chris Nelson. But before his first pitch to Matt McBride, Volstad picked Nelson off first to end the inning. Chris Volstad threw 19 pitches in the first inning, 10 for strikes, and it was evident that it was going to be a long day for the Cubs’ bullpen.

Starlin Castro flied out to deep center to start the second inning. Luis Valbuena singled to left and advanced to second when Steve Clevenger lined a 1-1 pitch back up the middle. Chacin knocked the ball down and threw out Clevenger at first for the second out. Brett Jackson pulled a 0-2 pitch into right. Matt McBride charged the ball as Valbuena rounded third. McBride bobbled the ball and Valbuena scored the Cubs’ first run on a single by Brett Jackson. Chris Volstad grounded out to third on Chacin’s 27th pitch of the game (19 strikes) to end the inning.

Matt McBride led off the second with a single to left (0-1 pitch). D.J. LeMahieu stepped in and fell behind 1-2. LeMahieu lined the fifth pitch of the at bat to left. The ball hit on the top of the wall and skipped over. LeMahieu’s second career big league homer gave the Rockies a 5-1 lead. Jhoulys Chacin followed with a single to center … the seventh hit allowed by Volstad to the first nine batters. Josh Rutledge grounded into a 4-3 double play and Charlie Blackmon grounded out to first (3-2 pitch) to end the inning. Volstad threw 43 pitches, 28 for strikes, over the first two innings.

After two complete, the Cubs trailed 5-1.

David DeJesus (groundout to first) and Darwin Barney (called third strike) made two quick outs to begin the third. Anthony Rizzo worked a full count before launching his 15th homer of the season over the wall in right center. Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging to end the inning … but Rizzo’s longball cut the Rockies’ lead to 5-2.

Jordan Pacheco led off the third with a single to center. Wilin Rosario flied out to Brett Jackson in right center. Tyler Colvin then drove a 1-0 pitch into the gap in left center. Jackson cut the ball off and held Colvin to a single but Pacheco advanced to third with no outs. Chris Nelson followed and ripped a 3-1 pitch into center. Colvin was running with the pitch and advanced to third as Pacheco scored the Rockies’ sixth run. Matt McBride launched a 0-2 pitch to deep center. Jackson hauled it in for the second out but Colvin tagged and scored the Rockies’ seventh run. D.J. LeMahieu grounded out to Castro to end the inning … 65 pitches for Volstad after three, 42 for strikes.

Starlin Castro walked to start the fourth. Luis Valbuena singled to center. Castro held at second with no outs. Steve Clevenger hit into a 6-3 double play but Brett Jackson worked a two-out walk. Dale Sveum went to his bench and sent up Bryan LaHair to hit for Volstad. LaHair singled to right center. Castro scored and Jackson ended up at third with two down. David DeJesus flied out to right (2-2 pitch) to end the inning. Chacin threw 66 pitches in the first three innings, 42 for strikes.

Rafael Dolis was sharp in the fourth and set the side down in order … first inning the Rockies did not score.

After four, the Cubs trailed 7-3.

Darwin Barney grounded out to second (1-1 pitch) for the first out in the fifth. Anthony Rizzo stepped in and Chacin threw a 2-0 pitch behind his back. Rizzo walked on four pitches and advanced to second on a single by Alfonso Soriano. Castro lined a 0-1 pitch into center that fell in front of Colvin to load the bases. Luis Valbuena hit a 1-2 pitch back up the box. Chacin stopped the ball but bobbled it and had to settle for the force out at the plate. With the bases still loaded and two down, Steve Clevenger grounded out to first to end the inning.

Rafael Dolis stayed in for the fifth and ended up facing the minimum. Pacheco flied out to right center (3-1 pitch) for the first out. Wilin Rosario singled to right but was erased when Colvin hit a 1-2 pitch back to Dolis … 1-6-3 inning ending double play.

The Cubs did nothing against Josh Outman in the sixth.

Alberto Cabrera took over in the sixth and gave up a leadoff single to Chris Nelson. Cabrera uncorked a wild pitch with McBride at the plate. Nelson advanced to second. Cabrera struck out McBride swinging for the first out. LeMahieu lined a 1-2 pitch out to left that Soriano caught for the second out … and Josh Outman struck out swinging to end the inning.

Josh Outman retired Barney on a grounder to short to start the seventh. Anthony Rizzo followed with a single to right center (2-2 pitch) and Jim Tracy went to his pen for right-hander Adam Ottavino. Alfonso Soriano flied out to right (0-2 pitch) and Castro grounded out to second for the third out.

Alberto Cabrera set down the side in order in the seventh.

At the end of seven, the Cubs trailed 7-3.

Lefty Rex Brothers started the eighth and Dale Sveum went to his bench. Josh Vitters hit for Valbuena and grounded a 3-2 pitch to Pacheco for the first out. Anthony Recker hit for Clevenger and lined out to left center. Dave Sappelt hit for Jackson and reached on an infield single to the hole at short but Welington Castillo, hitting for Cabrera, struck out swinging to end the inning.

Jaye Chapman issued a four-pitch walk to Wilin Rosario to start the eighth. Rosario took off for second on a 3-2 pitch to Colvin. Colvin swung at and missed an 86 mph fastball. Recker threw a strike to Castro and cut down Rosario for the second out. Nelson flied out to deep right to end the inning.

The game went to the ninth with the Cubs down 7-3.

Matt Belisle started the ninth and David DeJesus (single to right) and Darwin Barney (infield single) greeted him with back-to-back singles. Anthony Rizzo drove a 2-2 pitch into left. DeJesus scored and cut the Rockies lead down to 7-4. Jim Tracy then went to the pen for his closer Rafael Betancourt.

Alfonso Soriano pulled a 0-1 pitch down the left field line. Darwin Barney scored and Rizzo ended up at third on Soriano’s 33rd two-base hit of the season … and just the Cubs’ second extra basehit of the afternoon. With runners on second and third with no outs, Starlin Castro struck out swinging. Josh Vitters also struck out swinging. With two down and the tying runs in scoring position, Sveum sent Tony Campana into run for Soriano at second. Anthony Recker hit Betancourt’s first pitch back up the middle. Josh Rutledge fielded the ball but threw low to first. Pacheco scooped the low throw to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a three-game series in Phoenix on Friday night. Travis Wood will face the D-Backs’ Ian Kennedy in game one.

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Quote of the Day

"Now there's three things you can do in a baseball game: You can win or you can lose or it can rain." - Casey StengelĀ 

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  • Brp921

    I just can’t see Volstad as a viable option for the five spot in the rotation next year. At least not the way he’s pitching now. He did show some promise that he was getting it together for a stretch before losing it again, but he is way to inconsistent. He’ll need some major improvement before he can be a major league pitcher.

  • Dorasaga

    Q&A: Albert Almora, Cubs First-Round Pick

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/qa-albert-almora-cubs-first-round-pick/

    I will also recommend Tom’s authentic interviews with other minor players and the Boomer:
    http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2012/08/schaumburgboome_1.php

  • SuzyS

    Thanks for sharing, Dorasaga. I loved the Almora piece.

  • Dorasaga

    I’m glad you like it. I only share links with stuff that really interests me. Almora looks interesting; smart kid.