Rapid Reaction: Braves 10, Cubs 3
July, 3, 2012
By Doug Padilla | ESPNChicago.com
ATLANTA -- Chicago Cubs pitchers combined to give up nine walks and were crushed 10-3 by the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.
How it happened: Chris Volstad returned to the major leagues and picked up where he left off with a five-run meltdown in the fifth inning. It didn’t help that Darwin Barney failed to get an out when he couldn’t decide where to throw the ball, but Volstad was still hit hard. He gave up six runs on seven hits with two walks over 4 1/3 innings. The Cubs offense delivered a three-run third inning, helped along by some sloppy Braves defense.
What it means: If the Cubs do end up trading guys like Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, it will be interesting to see what rotation options they come up with. Volstad wasn’t the answer Tuesday and the Cubs preferred him over Randy Wells and Casey Coleman, both of whom were sent down to Triple-A Iowa over the past week. As it is, they will have to cover Dempster’s spot in the rotation at least one more time, on Sunday in the first-half finale.
Outside the box: It didn’t even work to stash Volstad in the minor leagues for a month and a half. The right-hander returned only to see his record fall to 0-7 on the season as the Cubs have lost all nine times he has started a game. On July 10 it will be one year since he last won in the major leagues when he defeated the Houston Astros while pitching for the Marlins. He has now made 20 starts since then and has gone 0-11.
Off beat: The Cubs fell into a Chipper Jones trap on Tuesday. On the day Jones was named to the National League All-Star team as an injury replacement for the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp, the 40-year-old third baseman had his first five-hit game in 10 seasons. He also extended his hitting streak to 10 games, becoming the second player in Braves franchise history to have a double-digit game hitting streak after turning 40. His night ended in the eighth inning with a curtain call after he was replaced by a pinch runner.
Up next: The Cubs will send left-hander Paul Maholm (5-6, 4.84 ERA) to the mound in the third game of the four-game series at Atlanta. The Braves will counter with right-hander Randall Delgado (4-8, 4.52) in the 6:10 p.m. CST start from Turner Field.