PITTSBURGH -- The topsy-turvy season of Edinson Volquez has a new twist, and this one is a head-scratcher. The 33-year-old has a theory on why he's been pretty much unhittable in his last few starts -- a sore ankle.No joke, Volquez has turned a negative into a positive, claiming the
PITTSBURGH -- The topsy-turvy season of Edinson Volquez has a new twist, and this one is a head-scratcher. The 33-year-old has a theory on why he's been pretty much unhittable in his last few starts -- a sore ankle.
No joke, Volquez has turned a negative into a positive, claiming the ankle injury he incurred in the first inning of his no-hitter on Saturday has improved his pitching. On Thursday night, the right-hander didn't make no-hit history, but made quick work of the Pirates in the Marlins' 7-1 win at PNC Park.
Volquez threw seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits, and he struck out eight.
"It's crazy, but my ankle, it keeps me under control," Volquez said, perfectly serious. "I don't try to do too much. It's something with my delivery, my mechanics. I [previously] jumped to the plate. I've got to stay back a little bit to make sure my ankle is fine to support my weight. It keeps me more under control."
Volquez no-hit the D-backs, 3-0, in Miami, and he did so by getting his final 26 outs on a sore right ankle. On the first play of that game, Volquez collided with Rey Fuentes, and rolled his ankle while securing the out at first.
There were questions if Volquez would make his start at Pittsburgh.
"I think I was better today," Volquez said. "I think I threw more strikes with my breaking ball than my last time. My fastball command was good after the first inning. I walked two guys. I was able to make good pitches when I needed it."
For Volquez, it's part of an impressive turnaround, considering he opened the season losing his first seven decisions. But he's won three straight starts, in dominating fashion.
Since beating the Phillies on May 29, Volquez has allowed one run in 22 innings (0.41 ERA) on six hits with 22 strikeouts.
In his last two starts, he's allowed three hits with 18 strikeouts in 16 shutout frames.
How Volquez would respond after the no-hitter wasn't really in question. He surrendered a hit in the first inning, a one-out bunt single by Josh Harrison. So early on, the legacy of Johnny Vander Meer was safe.
Vander Meer is the only player in MLB history to toss back-to-back no-hitters.
Volquez and Harrison are good friends, and they joked about the bunt single after Harrison doubled and reached third in the sixth inning.
"He was like, 'You threw a no-hitter the other day.' I was like, 'OK, you can have it,'" Volquez said. "He's a good friend of mine. He was trying to get a hit against me. We were trying to have fun during the game."
Volquez is staying loose and having fun. Jokingly, he claimed he will do whatever it takes, even resorting to drastic measures, to continue his hot streak.
"So when I fix my ankle, I'm going to hit it again with a bat," the veteran right-hander laughed.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.