After losing the first two games of the season, the Cubs bounced back on Easter to beat the Nationals. On Monday they started a four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Fans had their eyes on two people in particular Monday, Aramis Ramirez and Chris Volstad. Since being traded to the Cubs in July of 2003, Ramirez has always been the third baseman for the Cubs. However, his tenure with the Cubs came to an end following the 2011 season as he signed with the Brewers. The Brew Crew will be Ramirez’s third team and each of them have been in the National League Central Division (Pirates, Cubs, Brewers). Though Ramirez was booed at times for what seemed to be a lack of effort, he was always a fan favorite in Chicago.
Last season, Chris Volstad started 29 games and finished with a 5-13 record for the Florida (Now Miami) Marlins. His numbers weren’t all that great as he posted a 4.89 ERA. Despite the bad numbers last year, the Cubs needed someone in return to get rid of Carlos Zambrano and a new scenery for Volstad should work out fine. Zambrano has had a number of issues with umpires and his team, and finally the Cubs shipped him off. Though the Cubs are paying most of his salary, they got a young starter in return with great potential.
Now onto the game…
The first batter Volstad faced was Rickie Weeks and he struck him out. Instead of settling in early, he gave up back to back hits. This led to Aramis Ramirez driving in the first run of the game with a sac fly. The Brewers lead would not last long as Darwin Barney hit the first Cubs homer of the 2012 season in the bottom of the first. The Cubs would take the lead in the next inning when Bryan LaHair hit the second Cubs home run of the season, making the score 2-1 Cubs. However, in the top of the third the Brewers would answer right back with a lead-off homer by Rickie Weeks. That inning Aramis Ramirez stuck out to give the Brewers their second out. In the fourth inning, the Brewers would score again making it 3-2 Brewers. Ramirez batted again in the fifth, this time flying out to right field. The Cubs tied it in the bottom of the fifth, only for new Cub, Shawn Camp, to give up two runs and the lead in the top of the sixth, making the score 5-3 Brew Crew. Ramirez got his second RBI in the top of the seventh with a double to left-center, scoring Ryan Braun. 6-3 Brewers. Another run for the Brewers in the eighth and an Aramis Ramirez walk in the ninth. Going into the bottom of the ninth, the Brewers led 7-3. The new Cubs third baseman, Ian Stewart, led off with a double. He advanced to third on a ground out by LaHair. Geovany Soto walked and Marlon Byrd got to first, thanks to an error by Ramirez, which also scored Stewart. Steve Clevenger pinched hit and got a single, scoring fellow catcher Soto, and putting runners on first and second. David DeJesus struck out and Darwin Barney followed with a walk. With his hit streak and on-base steak on the line, Starlin Castro came up, only to strike out looking to end the game.
The Cubs lost 7-5.
Aramis Ramirez: 1 for 3. 2 RBI. 1 BB. 1 K.
Chris Volstad: 5 IP. 3 R. 3 ER. 2 BB. 6 K.
Since he had two RBI and won the game, it is safe to say that Ramirez had a better game than Volstad as they both had something to prove to the crowd at Wrigley Field.
Game 2 of the series is Tuesday, April 10th at 7:05 CT. You can watch the game on CSN or MLB.TV. If you attend the game, be one of the first 10,000 fans and get a free pair of Cubs ear warmers.
Starting Pitchers for Game 2:
Cubs – LHP Paul Maholm
Brewers – LHP Chris Narveson