Upon being claimed off waivers from the Cardinals in early April, Ottavino split time between the Rockies and Triple-A Colorado Springs. In nine outings (9 1/3 innings) with the Rockies, the right-hander has struck out 10 batters, with three multiple-strikeout games.
The first run Ottavino yielded this season came against Houston, which snapped his 7 1/3 scoreless inning streak. Five of his outings have been hitless, and he's holding opponents to a .219 batting average, third-lowest on the team.
"My breaking balls have been pretty effective this year," said Ottavino, who features a 12-6 curveball and a slider. "The good thing is, I can throw those pitches a variety of ways so it's not a pitch that's the same every time a batter sees it. That allows me to have success."
In the offseason, after St. Louis won the World Series, Ottavino figured his time as a Cardinal was finally up. Ottavino had only pitched in five games for the club, and that was in 2010; he had spent the entire 2011 championship season in Triple-A Memphis.
"I was told I'd have a chance in St. Louis, so I kept trying to make the team and impress them," Ottavino said. "When I did get removed from the roster this spring, I was happy about it. I was somewhat relieved that I'd get another chance somewhere else."
Ottavino has fit in nicely with the Rockies, who hope he can serve as a piece of the bridge between a starting rotation that has struggled pitching deep into games and closer Rafael Betancourt, who is tied for eighth in the National League with nine saves.
There are still some consistency issues to iron out. A tidy microcosm of his skill set would be a May 21 game against the Marlins, in which he allowed two hits, walked one batter and struck out three in just one inning. But so far he's been much more reliable than Esmil Rogers, who has a 8.18 ERA in 22 innings.
"I'm just trying to answer the bell when they call my name," Ottavino said. "My job is to go out there, throw zeroes and get out the guy standing in front of me."