After 24 consecutive winless starts, multiple call-downs to the minor leagues and almost 14 months of futility, Chicago Cubs pitcher Chris Volstad finally won a game.
The incredible 24 start skid, which began on July 17 of last season, was comprised of an 0-14 record and a 5.53 ERA. Including Sunday's contest, the Cubs have now won only two of Volstad's 14 starts this season. With a streak so extreme, inevitably, one has to encounter a great deal of bad luck. So, of course, despite Volstad's dominating performance yesterday, some sort of difficulty was bound to arise--in this case, three hours worth of rain delays including one just before the start of the ninth inning. Rick Gano of the AP writes that when the game was finally called due to rain, no one was more relieved than Volstad.
"The tarp being pulled in the ninth inning, I was, ‘Come on, just get this over with,' " Volstad said. "I got a pretty big welcome, reception whatever you want to call it when they called the game. Everyone was pretty happy. I was pretty happy, as well. ... There is a little sense of relief to get it over with."
Volstad was steadily approaching the major league record of 28 straight winless starts, but he did all he could Sunday, allowing only three hits in 6.2 scoreless innings. He had pitched better of late since being recalled to the Cubs on August 1, and head coach Dale Sveum knew it was only a matter of time.
"Since he's been back, he hasn't been that bad. He's had some good outings," Chicago manager Dave Sveum said of Volstad. "He's pitched much better with a lot more conviction."
Volstad will now look to begin a win streak. His next scheduled start is August 31 against the San Francisco Giants.
For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago and visit the Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue. And for more news and notes from around baseball, visit Baseball Nation.