Righty Ottavino thrives in middle-innings role

Righty Ottavino thrives in middle-innings role

CINCINNATI -- Rockies right-hander Adam Ottavino displayed his best slider this season on Sunday, when he struck out four in two unblemished innings in the Rockies' 7-2 victory over the Dodgers.

Ottavino (0-1) has posted a 1.84 ERA this season, and he has allowed just three earned runs in his last 26 1/3 innings.

The bite on Ottavino's slider in Sunday's game was comparable to that of a late-innings pitcher. But manager Walt Weiss will keep him in a middle role with the possibility of throwing multiple innings for good reason. On the 10 occasions that he has thrown at least two frames, he has given up just one run in 21 innings.

"There may be situations where he finds himself in the game later, but for the most part, when our bullpen is rested and everyone's available, we'll continue to use him in that [middle] role," Weiss said. "He's thrived in it.

"His slider is really good, especially to right-handed hitters, because it's a bit of a crossfire. That's tough on righties. When he's stepping across [toward the third-base line] and firing the slider across the strike zone, it makes him really tough."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.