National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, July 3rd
(All times Eastern)
Chicago Cubs (29-49) at Atlanta Braves (41-37), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Chris Volstad (0-6, 7.46)
Atlanta - Jair Jurrjens (1-2, 6.07)
(Sports Network) - Former first-round draft pick Chris Volstad returns from a
stint in the minors in search of his first 2012 victory tonight, when the
Chicago Cubs visit the Atlanta Braves for the second of four games at Turner
The 16th overall selection by the Florida Marlins in 2005, Volstad won 32
games over 103 appearances with his initial team before heading to the Cubs in
a January deal that sent controversial Venezuelan Carlos Zambrano to Florida.
Volstad allowed 51 hits and 36 runs on 41 innings over his initial eight
starts, racking up a 7.46 earned run average and an 0-6 record before he was
dispatched to Triple-A Iowa of the Pacific Coast League.
The 25-year-old made eight starts and went 2-3 with a 4.44 ERA in the minors,
allowing 59 hits in 50 2/3 innings before he was summoned back for his 10th
career start against the Braves.
In his initial nine meetings, Volstad is 2-4 with a 4.22 ERA.
In Monday's series opener, Jeff Samardzija had a career-high 11 strikeouts and
Luis Valbuena stroked the tie-breaking three-run double in the seventh inning,
lifting the Cubs past the Braves, 4-1.
Samardzija (6-7), who allowed nine runs in his last start against the Mets and
had a 12.27 earned run average in his four previous starts coming in, tossed
seven dominant innings in which he allowed one run on four hits and a walk.
"Like I said the last start, I thought it was a lot mental," Samardzija said.
"For me, these last two starts, I felt like I wasn't giving myself the right
opportunity to succeed and that's frustrating, especially with how our team's
"You don't want to be the one guy to let your team down. I really wanted to
come out today and attack the zone and see what happens."
"That split finger was working really well today," Cubs first baseman Anthony
Rizzo said. "You don't see a lot of guys, especially with the lineup they
have, taking swings like that."
Rizzo, coming off a weekend which included two game-winning hits, crushed his
second home run of the season as the Cubs won their season-best fourth
"I'm just taking it at-bat by at-bat," Rizzo said. "Just try to learn from
each at-bat and get my confidence up more. Just go from there."
Tommy Hanson (9-5) matched Samardzija pitch for pitch early, but the right-
hander gave up four runs on seven hits and a walk. He struck out eight and had
a five-start unbeaten stretch broken. He's 0-4 lifetime against the Cubs.
"Just came down to that last inning really," Hanson said.
"A couple of base hits up the middle and I wanted to throw a back-door slider
right there and it kind of leaked over the middle. I felt really good with my
stuff. I was throwing strikes and getting ahead of guys. It just came down to
that last inning."
Atlanta goes with Curacao-born righty Jair Jurrjens, who's also just back
after a stint in the minors to remedy ineffectiveness.
The 26-year-old was a National League All-Star en route to a 13-win season
with the Braves last year, but was 0-2 in his initial four starts this spring
before heading to Triple-A Gwinnett of the International League.
He was 3-4 with a 5.18 ERA in 10 starts before heading back to the majors on
June 22, when he scattered three hits and a run in 7 2/3 innings of a 4-1
defeat of the Boston Red Sox.
In one start since, he allowed two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings of the
Braves' 3-2 loss to Arizona on June 28.
Jurrjens is 1-1 in four career starts against the Cubs.
Chicago won two of three games from the Braves in a May series at Wrigley
Field. Atlanta won four of seven from the Cubs last season. They last won the
season series in 2008.
07/03 10:27:09 ET