Posted by Wally Londo on 16th July 2009
(Had to include a picture of Volstad from his high school days since my high school, Flanagan in Pembroke Pines, beat him in his last start as a senior on our way to a state championship. Sorry, Chris.)
Volstad is 6-foot-7 22 year old with a low-to-mid 90′s fastball and a nice spike curve ball that makes his living when he’s going well on forcing hitters to pound the ball in the dirt and feeding his middle infielders grounders. When he has been on this season, he’s been great; 8 of his 18 starts have feature less than two earned runs crossing the plate, including the first complete game shutout of his career when he allowed just 5 hits while striking out 6 and walking none in his last start before the All Star Break against the Giants.
However, Volstad has been prone to giving up home runs, and that’s really been the biggest problem (and the biggest outlier) of his season. When looking at batted ball data, he is among the league’s leaders in home runs per fly ball, an astounding 16.2%. He doesn’t allow many fly balls, but he’s getting killed by those that do make it to the air.
The last time he faced the Phillies, he gave up 3 runs on 6 hits, including two home runs in a 6.2 IP W.
Lineup behind Volstad:
Emilio Bonifacio 3B
Jeremy Hermida LF
Hanley Ramirez SS
Jorge Cantu 1B
Dan Uggla 2B
Ronnie Paulino C
Cody Ross CF
Brett Carroll RF
Chris Volstad P
The term “ageless” had been used to describe Jamie Moyer for the better part of the last 7 seasons or so, but as it inevitably does, age seems to be catching up to the 46 year old lefty, who is in the midst of arguably his worst season ever.
Moyer’s trademark control has been there, but besides that, nothing has gone right for him. He is allowing 2 home runs per nine innings, and although that is with a high 15.2% HR/FB, he has been throwing more fastballs than ever this season (65% of his pitches, compared to about 40 each of the past 3 seasons, according to FanGraphs) and hasn’t been using his great change up or cutter nearly as often. If you top out at 84 MPH and you are throwing that pitch 65% of the time, you’re going to get pounded.
Still, Moyer has his reputation as a Marlin killer to uphold after his most recent start in Florida, a 4 run, 6 IP loss. Despite that, he still owns a 12-2 record with a 3.06 ERA in 14 starts against the Fish, so he had historically had their number. He is 7-0 with a 1.58 in 7 starts at Former-Dolphins-Joe-Robbie-Pro-Player-Currently-Landshark-Stadium in his career.
No Pedro to save the Phillies tonight, and Paulino, Cody, and Hanley are going to tee off on Moyer’s beer league fastball while Volstad keeps the ball down, though it’s hard to not give up home runs to this team, so that might still be a problem tonight. Marlins win on an early surge.