The Houston Astros won their third road game in 28 attempts when they defeated the Cubs 10-1 on August 14, 2012. Volstad surrendered four earned runs in five innings. Volstad hasn't won a game in his last 23 starts. That victory occurred on July 10, 2011 .
Volstad appeared to have the perfect opportunity to end his winless streak. His last victory occurred when he pitched the Florida Marlins (now Miami) to a victory over the Astros. The Astros had an 11-47 road record. They had a run-differential of -156. The Cubs are above-.500 when playing at Wrigley Field. They had a 4-0 record against the Astros at Wrigley Field.
It didn't matter. Volstad dropped to 0-9 on the year. He has a 6.96 ERA in 12 starts. Only two of those starts were quality starts. He has surrendered at least two earned runs in every start.
23 starts. Zero victories
There's a good chance that the winless streak will reach 24 starts. Volstad is on track to pitch against the Cincinnati Reds on August 19. The Reds have 13 hits and nine runs (eight earned runs) against him through 11 innings in 2012. Both of those games were at Wrigley Field. Volstad will face a tougher challenge at the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.
The all-time MLB record for longest winless stretch from a starting pitcher is 28 games. The record is held by Jo-Jo Reyes (2008-11), Matt Keough (1978-79) and Cliff Curtis (1910-11). Reyes was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays when his winless streak reached 28 games. The streak ended when he pitched a complete game against the American League-leading Cleveland Indians on May 30, 2011. The Blue Jays designated him for assignment less than two months later.
Volstad has pitched poorly enough to where he could eclipse this record if he remained in the starting rotation. He has been a below-average starting pitcher since his 2008 rookie season. Since 2009, Volstad has ERAs of 5.21 (2009), 4.58 (2010), 4.89 (2011) and 6.96 (2012).
There's one catch: the Cubs would have to keep him in the starting rotation for six more starts. That's very questionable and even doubtful.
Volstad has had multiple opportunities to correct his problems at Triple-A Iowa. It hasn't helped him. There comes a time when the Cubs must stop trying to make him something that he isn't. That time has come. The Cubs should move him to the bullpen before this losing streak exceeds 28 games. Don't be shocked if he's designated for assignment.
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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