Now it was Edinson Volquez and Yordano Ventura serving up seven innings each of shutout ball in back-to-back games. Naturally, manager Ned Yost is a bit more relieved these days as his rotation stabilizes.
"Any time you have back-to-back shutouts, you're going to feel good," Yost said. "You know, it's a long season. Pitchers are going to have ups and downs. But we feel good about our rotation."
And Yost feels especially good about his ace, Ventura, who turned in his best outing of the season in a 3-0 win over the Reds on Tuesday night.
"He had command of all three of his pitches," Yost beamed. "Tremendous job."
Ventura, too, believed it was his best of the season.
"I felt very good," Ventura said through interpreter Christian Colon. "I got all my pitches over for strikes."
Ventura needed just 88 pitches as he silenced the Reds on four hits and walked none. He would have stayed in the game past seven innings, but he had developed a cut on one of his fingers -- caused by his thumbnail scraping against it on his breaking stuff -- during his last start. Ventura began feeling that cut again in the seventh.
"They told me just to leave it and get ready for the next start after that (seventh inning)," Ventura said.
Ventura got into only one jam. The Reds had runners on second and third with one out in the third. But Ventura got a groundout from Zack Cozart and a strikeout from Brayan Pena on a 3-2 changeup out of the zone.
"I really didn't care if I walked [Pena] at that point," Ventura said. "I just wanted him to get himself out, so I threw a high changeup. He swung."