21… 22… 23… 24… Reset!
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Chris Volstad has finally stopped his 24-game winless streak. Volstad earned his first victory with his new team after he pitched 6.2 shutout innings against the Colorado Rockies on August 26, 2012. The Cubs won 5-0 in a rain-shortened game.
Volstad hadn't won a MLB start since July 10, 2011. He had either gotten losses or no-decisions in each of his last 24 starts. Jo-Jo Reyes had tied the MLB record for most consecutive starts without a victory in 2011. Reyes had gone 28 starts without a win. Reyes finally won a game when he pitched a complete game against the Cleveland Indians on May 30. That was his first victory in three years.
The Cubs offense didn't simplify matters. They had a 1-0 lead before Darwin Barney hit a RBI single in the sixth inning. They had a 2-0 lead when Volstad was removed during the top of the seventh inning. The offense created some breathing room when they scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. The game was called off after that.
Volstad wouldn't have gotten a better opportunity to win a game in 2012. The Rockies have a 25-36 road record. They're one of six teams with fewer than 26 road victories. Despite the Cubs' 49-77 record, they have a 32-29 record at Wrigley Field. Had this been another no-decision or loss, Volstad would've been at a real risk for 28 winless starts. His next three opponents would've likely been the San Francisco Giants, at Washington Nationals and at Houston Astros.
Before the All-Star break, Volstad had a 7.94 ERA. Since returning to the starting rotation on August 4, Volstad has lowered that ERA to 6.28. Three of those five starts have been quality starts.
Volstad will need many of these games if he has any chance of making the starting rotation in 2013. The Cubs have kept Volstad in their rotation because they're uncomfortable with their other options. Trades and injuries have depleted their rotation. The Cubs don't want to rush their young arms.
I'm happy for Volstad. I'm not the type of person to wish that 28-game winless streak on anybody. That's just cruel. We'll see how he responds now that he has gotten the monkey off his back.
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. He immediately gained an admiration for Cubs fans after watching numerous games on WGN during the mid-90s. His favorite Cubs moment was Kerry Wood's(notes) 1-hitter, 20K extravaganza that was only denied of a no-hitter by Kevin Orie's defensive blunder. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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