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Black not shuffling rotation after superb start to May

CINCINNATI -- The Padres' starting rotation has been stellar so far in May, posting the National League's best ERA in the 10 games going into Tuesday's series opener against the Reds. The staff had a 2.40 ERA (16 ER in 60 IP) and had yielded three runs or less in all 10 contests. Friars starters turned in seven quality starts over that span.

Southpaw Eric Stults earned one of those quality starts in his last outing against the Marlins on Saturday, tossing six innings and allowing two runs on six hits while walking none and striking out four. Stults said the key to continuing the rotation's recent success in hitter-friendly parks like Great American Ball Park and San Diego's next stop -- Coors Field -- is to focus on pitching, not the venue.

"I think as a pitcher, you can't let that get in your head, that it's a hitter's park," Stults said before Tuesday's game. "You've still got to execute pitches. A lot of pitchers have thrown good games in [Great American Ball Park], and good games can be thrown in Colorado. Mentally, not letting yourself think about that, but also, I think in parks like this, it's walks that can kill you, giving guys free passes. So it's just about throwing strikes."

Padres manager Bud Black is very pleased with the recent outings he's gotten from his starters, and despite his recent consideration of shuffling the rotation with an off-day on Monday in order to break up back-to-back lefties Stults and Robbie Erlin, Black said he's going to stick with the current order.

"No rotation changes," Black said Tuesday. "We're not going to do that. Tyson Ross will pitch on Thursday and Stults and Erlin will pitch the first two games in Colorado."

Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for
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