Chris Volstad sucks. He very deservedly got the loss tonight. Volstad had pitched a couple of effective games since he was recalled but just stunk it up against the worst team in the majors. He will almost assuredly be non-tendered at the end of the season and will be hard-pressed to find work on a major league roster. He’s more likely to be a roster-filler next season for the Cubs or some other team’s farm system. That said, he probably won’t be released until after this weekend. Of course, I have been wrong before so take this with a grain of salt.
The reason lies in the schedule. This coming weekend the Cubs travel to Cincinnati and have to play four games in three days due to a doubleheader on Saturday. Justin Germano is going to pitch tomorrow in the series finale against the Astros. The Cubs then have an off-day before heading to Cincinnati.
In Cincinnati, Travis Wood is slated to pitch on Friday. Jeff Samardzija will pitch one of the games on Saturday (probably the early one) and Brooks Raley will likely be recalled to pitch the other. They might ask Germano to pitch on short rest on Sunday (that would be three days rather than the usual four days) but that seems unlikely since the Cubs would then have to pitch everyone else on short rest if no other pitching roster moves are made. That leaves the inimitable Chris Volstad for Sunday. They can probably release him after that, but in the absence of Volstad, who else do we have? Never mind the fact that even with Raley back up, the Cubs will likely have to pitch Wood and Samardzija on short rest. Matt Garza is still broken. The Cubs may consider ramping down Samardzija’s workload soon, but not yet; however, that doesn’t mean they will want to risk pitching a guy who is getting close to his professional innings high on short rest. But even if they bring up somebody else (or a couple of somebodies), Chris Volstad probably has to eat a few innings on Sunday lest there be extra bullpen days before the next off day after the Milwaukee series.
Are there any Iowa Cubs pitchers worth bringing up? Well, Raley is obviously getting recalled, and he seems okay though he did get shelled in his debut. Chris Rusin is the obvious next choice to bring up, but he’s not actually that much better than Volstad. Casey Coleman (ugh) and Randy Wells (ugh) are broken. Rodrigo Lopez is old and he sucks. They could try guys like Frankie De La Cruz or Ty’relle Harris, but that seems very unlikely since De La Cruz loves walking people and Harris was just barely called up to Iowa. There’s always the recent pickup, Seth McClung, but he sucks too. I’m guessing one of the guys who aren’t broken will be called up to make a spot start on Tuesday so Wood can pitch on regular rest on Wednesday and Samardzija can pitch after the off-day. I think Rusin might have the best chance, and the corresponding move may be designating Volstad for assignment, but I wouldn’t count on that either because again, he just doesn’t seem that much better than Volstad. Plus the Cubs may not be willing to start another prospect clock just yet.
Given how crappy the Cubs are this season and the various concerns highlighted above, expect to see Chris Volstad on Sunday, and possibly beyond. Sorry folks.