Marlins right-hander Chris Volstad opened the 2010 season firmly entrenched in the club’s starting rotation. But a rough April and a brutal July saw to his demotion to Triple-A New Orleans before the month of August.
He doesn’t look like the same pitcher now.
Volstad fired 6 2/3 shutout innings on Saturday against the Brewers and tossed a complete-game shutout last week against the Cardinals. He’s up to 15 2/3 straight scoreless innings and, according to the Palm Beach Post, is now 7-1 with a 4.44 ERA since his return to the big leagues in late August.
“Something clicked in him,’ manager Edwin Rodriguez. “It could be
his release point. It could be confidence in his pitches, because pretty
much he has the same stuff that he had earlier in the year. Something is
working for him now and he feels very confident and attacking hitters.”
The 6-foot-8 righty was selected in the first round of the 2005 draft. He is slowly living up to the hype.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.
ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.
Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.
Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.
It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.
On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.