Volstad still looking for answers, victory

CHICAGO -- Regardless of just how much value a pitcher’s won-loss record has in evaluating their talent, being winless for over 13 months, like Chris Volstad, has to wear on a pitcher.

With Tuesday night’s 10-1 drubbing at the hands of the Houston Astros, Volstad dropped to 0-9 on the season and has failed to record a victory in 23 consecutive starts.

“Just keep going, only thing you can do,” Volstad said when asked if the continued losing is dragging him down. “The past is in the past, so the only thing I’m concerned with is my next game.”

Volstad would be wise to put Tuesday’s disaster behind him. Despite Volstad’s feeling that he really only threw one bad pitch – a hanging curveball that Brett Wallace deposited into the bleachers in dead center field in the third inning -- manager Dale Sveum didn’t see many positives to take away from this outing.

“He got to five (innings) and there was nothing real crisp going on,” Sveum said. “The balls that were hit were hit hard, no command, he left the ball up. The off-speed stuff, that’s what was getting hit hard, didn’t have command of his fastball, not quite the same sink he’s had the last couple outings.”

Carlos Zambrano, whom the Cubs traded to Miami for Volstad prior to the season, has struggled with the Marlins, sporting a 4.54 ERA in 20 starts prior to being relegated to a bullpen role. Just based on Zambrano’s performance on the season, one would assume that the Cubs came out as the clear winner in that trade.

But Volstad’s continued failings on the field combined with the fact that the Cubs are paying the majority of Zambrano’s $18 million salary, makes things a bit blurry when evaluating the move.

Volstad is accurate when he said that the past is the past. There is no point in the Cubs dwelling over a trade that management saw as a near-necessity.

It doesn’t look as though Volstad has much of a future on the North Side. However, while Volstad would love to find himself assured a role with the Cubs in 2013 and beyond, his immediate goal may just be to finally secure that ever-elusive win.