The stars seemed aligned Tuesday night for Chris Volstad to pick up his first victory as a Cub.
After all, the Cubs were playing the last-place Houston Astros, against whom they had broken out of an offensive funk Monday.
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It wasn't to be. It wasn't even close.
Volstad lasted just 5 innings as he gave up 8 hits and 4 runs as the Cubs fell 10-1. He fell to 0-9 with a 6.96 ERA, and he has not won since July 10, 2011, as a member of the then-Florida Marlins.
The Marlins have changed their name to the Miami Marlins since then, but things have remained the same for Volstad, who hasn't won in 23 starts.
"Just keep going," he said. "That's all you can do. The past is in the past. The only thing I'm concerned about is my next game."
The Astros had a 1-0 lead until Brett Wallace hit a 3-run homer to center field in the third.
"You take away one pitch, and it's 1-0 instead of 4-0 and the team's right here," Volstad said. "I executed pitches after that, and I feel like that's one of the biggest strides I've made -- I've continued to throw.
"Again, you take away that, and a couple hits tonight were just finding holes. So you've got to keep making quality pitches. Just that one to Wallace wasn't, and he got it."
The game was out of hand early, but there were other interesting developments around the old ballpark.
Cubs president Theo Epstein, sporting a good-luck tie after Monday's victory (he's sure to lose the tie Wednesday), expressed confidence in center-field prospect Brett Jackson, who went 1-for-4 with 2 strikeouts Tuesday and is now 4-for-28 with 16 strikeouts since his Aug. 5 call-up from Class AAA Iowa.
The Cubs seem committed to Jackson.
"A long line of great players, including Hall of Famers, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, they both went 1-for-their-first-55 or something in the big leagues," Epstein said. "You also expect young guys to come up and struggle. That's part of their growth process.
"It doesn't make it any easier for them to go through. It's a natural step in a player's development. This game is all about adjustments. Come up and get humbled a little bit, make the adjustments and maybe have a chance to humble somebody else down the line."
The Cubs got some good news from another of their outfield prospects. They promoted Albert Almora, this year's first-round draft pick, from Mesa in the Rookie League to Class A Boise after Almora enjoyed a 10-game hitting streak and a 5-for-6 day Monday.
"He has done a real nice job the last week to 10 days," Epstein said. "For him, it was really a matter of getting his timing down. He's got a leg kick, a pretty significant leg kick, and sometimes those guys have to see a lot of live pitching to get their timing locked in.
"He's been driving the ball all over the field recently. We think he's pretty advanced for an 18-year-old. So it's a good time to move him."