Volstad can't get streak out of mind yet


Volstad can't get streak out of mind yet

LOS ANGELES Its there in the back of Chris Volstads mind. How could it not be?

Volstad still hasnt won a game in his last 21 starts in the big leagues, and this is a bottom-line business. But that wasnt the takeaway from Saturday nights tough-luck 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Volstad almost matched Clayton Kershaw, the National Leagues reigning Cy Young Award winner, pitch for pitch. And if Matt Kemps shot to right-center field hadnt bounced off the top of Joe Mathers glove and over the wall for a two-run homer, this could have been a different ballgame at Dodger Stadium.

As it stands, Volstad (0-8, 7.22 ERA) last notched a victory on July 10, 2011 with the Florida Marlins. But manager Dale Sveum saw someone throwing the ball with conviction, challenging hitters inside and not shaking off the catcher too much.

Once the game starts, its just baseball, Volstad said. But off the field, maybe before games, stuff like that, you might think about it some. Its hard not to. Its pretty apparent its a long streak. But Ive taken a different approach, simplifying it.

After selling off pieces at the trade deadline, the Cubs (43-62) are sticking Volstad in the rotation for the rest of the season, which amounts to around 10 starts to prove he belongs.

The hope is that The Streak doesnt become A Thing.

Its not not in his head, Sveum said. Unfortunately, you start thinking, Man, I cant blow this because I got the lead right now and I want this win and so on and so forth. So instead of just pitching, youre worrying about another entity that shouldnt be in your head.

Volstad limited the Dodgers (58-50) to two runs across seven innings and walked only one batter. Hes trying not to worry about the big picture.

(I) try not to think too much, Volstad said. Thats what gets me in trouble. I tend to think a lot and my mind gets in my own way. Just try to simplify it basically down to each single pitch and focus on that and see what happens.

Cubs recall David Bote from Triple-A with Anthony Rizzo's back ailing


Cubs recall David Bote from Triple-A with Anthony Rizzo's back ailing

David Bote's minor league stint didn't last long.

After demoting the 26-year-old to Triple-A Iowa on Monday, the Cubs recalled Bote on Sunday. In a corresponding move, the team placed Derek Holland (left wrist contusion) on the 10-day injured list.

Bote's return comes on the heels of Anthony Rizzo exiting Saturday's game due to mid-back tightness. Rizzo has dealt with back issues at various points in his career, missing four games in May this season with a similar ailment. 

The Cubs activated Steve Cishek off the injured list Tuesday, with the reliever filling Bote's vacancy on the 25-man roster. Thus, the Cubs had been playing with 14 pitchers and 11 position players for much of this week. Had they not recalled Bote, they Cubs would've had to play Sunday's game with just Victor Caratini and Tony Kemp available off the bench.

A similar situation occurred Saturday, as Rizzo exited the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. To save the Cubs from running out of position players, reliever Kyle Ryan took his at-bat in the sixth inning. Although he drew a walk, Ryan was thrown out attempting to take third base on a pitch that got away from Nationals catcher Yan Gomes.

Holland was hit by a comebacker in Tuesday's game against the Giants. Him landing on the injured list leaves Ryan as the lone lefty in the Cubs bullpen. The former holds a 5.74 ERA this season in 43 overall games between the Cubs and Giants, though that number is a more respectable 4.66 in 12 appearances with the Cubs.

Bote is hitting .257/.352/.429 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs in 106 games (268 at-bats) this season. 

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5 Days to Kickoff: Batavia

5 Days to Kickoff: Batavia preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Batavia

Head coach: Dennis Piron

Assistant coaches: Matt Holm, Billy Colamatteo, Sean Anderson, P.J. White, Dan Cadena, Adam Lester, Adam Kolowski, Mike Theriault, Zac Roberts and Erin Finucane

How they fared in 2018: 12-1 (7-0 DuKane Conference). Batavia made the Class 7A state playoff field and defeated Granite City, Moline and Willowbrook. They advanced to the semifinals where they lost to Nazareth Academy.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 31 vs East St. Louis
Sept. 6 @ Naperville North
Sept. 13 @ Lake Park
Sept. 20 vs Glenbard North
Sept. 27 @ Wheaton South
Oct. 4 @ Geneva
Oct. 11 vs St. Charles East
Oct. 18 @ St. Charles North
Oct. 25 vs Wheaton North

[MORE: 64 Days to Kickoff - Geneva

Biggest storyline: Batavia has won a minimum of 12 games four times since 2011 (two state titles: 2013, 2017). They were within striking distance of another title game appearance last season. Can Batavia reload and make it to DeKalb in November?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Quinn Urwiler (Sr., North Dakota) and ILB Matt "Mojo" Weerts (Jr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Bulldogs welcome back nine returning starters (four offense, five defense); they will need to patch a few holes on both the offensive and defensive lines. 

EDGY's Early Take: Head coach Dennis Piron has simply built the Bulldogs into a perennial state title contending team over his eight seasons (85-12 overall record, two state titles). The 2019 Bulldogs welcome back some key names from a season ago including RB/LB Quinn Urwiler, his brother junior RB/DB Trey Urwiler, senior RB Art Taylor, junior ILB Matt Weerts and senior S Sam Barus. The schedule is loaded, like usual. The opener vs. East St. Louis is full of intrigue. The Week 8 game against St. Charles North could be a must-see. If the new faces can step up and help Batavia reload in a few key spots, the Bulldogs will again challenge for the Class 7A state title.