If You Had The Sixth For Volstad's Bad Inning, You Win; Cubs Lose

Milwaukee, WI, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Chris Volstad pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning at Miller Park. Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

Edwin Maysonet, really?

A journeyman middle infielder who had 42 home runs in over 3,500 minor league plate appearances and just one in 87 major league PA before Saturday?

That's the Milwaukee Brewers player who hits a grand slam off Chris Volstad to help power the Brewers to an 8-2 win over the Cubs?

I guess. That's the kind of thing former manager Lou Piniella would have called "a Cubbie occurrence". Maybe we should just try to own those instead of being in constant fear of them. Otherwise this whole thing gets way too depressing.

Before that, Volstad, though a bit shaky, had at least kept the Cubs in the game, despite a botched rundown play in the first inning that allowed the Brewers to score their first run. With two out, Corey Hart was picked off first base, but Nyjer Morgan, who was on third, took off for the plate. Instead of paying attention to him, Bryan LaHair and Darwin Barney focused on Hart; they eventually got him, but not before Morgan scored... the textbook way for baserunners to do this kind of thing, and the same textbook way for fielders to not handle such a rundown.

The game went 1-1 into the sixth; it might have been a not-so-bad inning if the Cubs could have converted a ground ball hit by Aramis Ramirez into a double play. Instead, Barney pulled LaHair off first base on his relay throw. Jonathan Lucroy, who was on third, was going to score anyway to make it 2-1, but the DP would have left the bases empty with two out, and maybe Volstad gets out of the inning with the game still close.

You don't have to guess what happened next. Of course, Volstad fell apart. Hart doubled, sending Ramirez to third, and Travis Ishikawa was intentionally walked, which seemed like the logical thing to do, with the light-hitting Maysonet due up.

The strategy blew up when Maysonet, filling in for Rickie Weeks, smashed Volstad's second pitch far into the left-field seats for his slam. It all went with this year's pattern of Volstad having just one bad inning that has ruined each one of his starts.

For a time it looked like Casey Coleman might be at least a partial answer to the Cubs' bullpen woes, but he had a rough eighth inning and allowed a pair of runs. Coleman's delivery has been completely changed since he last appeared in a major league uniform, and he had posted a decent 3.48 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in seven appearances (six starts) for Iowa. Better luck next outing, Casey.

It was the 10th straight loss for the Cubs at Miller Park, dating back to last year, and that's unusual for a team that used to dominate in Milwaukee. From 2003 through 2008, the Cubs were 30-19 in Milwaukee (including the two games they won there over the Astros in 2008). Now, Miller Park has become a house of pain with the 10 losses in a row. The Cubs will try to salvage the final game of the series with Jeff Samardzija facing Marco Estrada.

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