One fateful inning fells Volstad, Cubs

One fateful inning fells Volstad, Cubs

One fateful inning fells Volstad, Cubs
MILWAUKEE -- Once again, Chris Volstad was the victim of one bad inning, and Cubs manager Dale Sveum suggested they may need to do more than just tweak the right-hander's grip.

Unlikely slugger Edwin Maysonet, subbing for the injured Rickie Weeks, hit his first career grand slam in the sixth inning Saturday off of Volstad to lift the Brewers to a 8-2 victory over the Cubs.

"It's been really hard, frustrating," said Volstad, who is winless in his last 18 starts. "I'm working my [backside] off, and don't have a lot to show for it."

The game was tied at 1 when Jonathan Lucroy doubled to lead off the Brewers' sixth, and Ryan Braun followed with a single. Lucroy scored on a fielder's choice by Aramis Ramirez as Starlin Castro got the force at second, but Darwin Barney's throw to first for a possible double play pulled Bryan LaHair off the bag. Friday's hero, Corey Hart, then doubled, and Travis Ishikawa was intentionally walked to load the bases. Maysonet, who came into the game with one career homer, launched the second pitch over the left-field fence. Did he know he got it?

"Yes sir, yes sir, yes sir," Maysonet said. "It feels amazing. You're helping your team win, and especially in that way. It's amazing."

Volstad, obviously, had the opposite feeling.

"That's the way it's been for every game," Volstad said. "I've done so well except for one inning. It's hard to pinpoint the difference. I've got to keep working."

Acquired from the Marlins for Carlos Zambrano, Volstad (0-5) is trying to impress his new team. He did for five innings, holding the Brewers to four hits over five innings, and looked dominant in doing so.

"He was doing well, and it just got away from him again," Sveum said of Saturday's outing. "The slider got him in trouble again. It's a pitch he needs, but it's getting hit too often and too hard. He was put in a situation to get a ground ball and couldn't get out of it and close that thing down. It just got out of hand again."

Will Sveum and the Cubs make a change?

"You're going to consider it," Sveum said. "There's options and things you can try, and other people you can try. We're all frustrated with the starts and the innings and the five shutout innings and one big inning. Whatever, six, seven starts in, we can't get a grip on it."

Volstad admitted he may be trying to do too much.

"I'm trying to make too good of a slider, as opposed to just throwing a normal slider like I was in the earlier innings, that could've been it," Volstad said about the sixth. "[I have to work on] just the location of it, not really the break or speed or anything like that, just where the pitch is located."

He was well rested because he didn't stick around Miller Park for the end of Friday's game -- a five-hour, 13-inning marathon which finished after midnight. Sveum was hoping the right-hander would go at least 100 pitches to spare the bullpen. Volstad was pulled after 99 pitches and Casey Coleman, fresh off the plane from Sacramento, pitched the final two innings.

But it wasn't just Volstad's pitch selection that bothered Sveum. The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the first, when David DeJesus doubled to lead off the game against Shaun Marcum (2-1), and scored one batter later when Castro hit into a double play.

Nyjer Morgan answered with a leadoff double in the Brewers first, and advanced on a fly-ball out. Braun was then hit by a pitch, and one out later, he was caught in a slow 1-3-4 rundown. Instead of going after Morgan, Volstad threw to LaHair to get Braun. Morgan was able to score on the play to tie the game.

"[He should've gone after Morgan], especially when Nyjer tipped his hand and he was halfway down the line and [Volstad] still had the ball in his hand," Sveum said. "That's when you have to take advantage of that and get the ball to the third baseman. Sometimes early in the game, you'll think about taking the out, too."

Volstad, who had a run-in with Morgan in the past, admitted he made the wrong decision.

"I should've checked him at third, or at least run at him," Volstad said. "It's hard to tell how far off the base he was. At the beginning of the game like that, take him out and get out of there. I didn't want it to blow up to anything worse."

Braun also was hit by a pitch on Friday, and Alfonso Soriano was hit by Marcum's first pitch of the Cubs second inning. Home-plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth immediately issued a warning to both benches. Neither manager argued. They might have been too worn out after Friday's game.

"I didn't expect they were going to hit me," Soriano said. "I knew it was coming, but I didn't know it was coming that soon."

The short turnaround after Friday's marathon wasn't a factor, Sveum said.

"We play a lot of night games, day games," Sveum said. "That's our job to bounce back."

The same could be said for Volstad.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.