Chris Volstad may be closing on as dubious of a record as there is for a pitcher, but you wouldn't know it by the way he approaches the game, according to Dale Sveum.
"He has handled it as good as anybody could handle it [given] the stretch and the situation he's in," the Cubs manager said. "[The] guy stays pretty much calm and collected most of the time. He doesn't show much emotion good or bad. He just goes about his business and works and is trying to make adjustments. It's just one of those things. We haven't gotten a lot of run support for him, either. That has to do with a lot of things. He's handled everything extremely well for the adversity he has had to go through."
Volstad will make his 13th start of the season Sunday, weather permitting. He had not earned a win since July 17, 2011, a stretch of 24 games that has him four shy of the record of 28 set by Matt Keough in 1979 and Jo-Jo Reyes from 2008-11. The 25-year-old righthander is 0-14 with a 5.54 ERA during that stretch.
He has made progress in his last four starts since his latest stint in the minors, and can be solid in three-and-four-inning stretches, but has only three quality starts this season.
But owning the record for the most consecutive starts without a win isn't the only thing on his mind.
Volstad, who is making $2.65 million this season, is arbitration eligible after this season. It's unlikely he will return to the Cubs unless it's the result of a handshake deal that would allow the Cubs to avoid arbitration and sign him to a lesser salary in exchange for a guaranteed contract.
The bottom line is, whether it's with the Cubs or some other team, Volstad is pitching for his major league life.
"It's hard not to be aware of stuff like that," Sveum said of the record. "It's talked about. Hopefully, obviously, it doesn't happen. We all know it's getting closer and closer to that. Hopefully, today we can take care of it and score some runs. We need to score early and keep adding on. We've had a very difficult time doing that."