Postgame: Volquez sharpening

Edinson Volquez had one shaky fifth inning and it cost him during a 3-1 Reds loss to Arizona. He walked the first two batters and paid for it.

But the overall vibe about Volquez’s performance was positive.

Dusty Baker was asked if Volquez had his 2008 All-Star stuff back yet after his return from Tommy John surgery.

“He’s pretty close. His endurance is up. His velocity is up,” Baker said. “Since he went down to Dayton, his location is a lot better, his tempo, rhythm and just his overall delivery is better. He’s not forcing it. He’s just letting it flow, pitching nice and relaxed.”

In two starts since returning from a tune-up stint at Class A Dayton, Volquez has given up seven hits and three walks while striking out 17 over 13 2/3 innings. He is trying to land one of the rotation spots in the postseason and likely competing with Travis Wood and Homer Bailey.

“I think I’m close now,” Volquez said of his stuff. “The last two games, I’m pitching really good. My delivery is better. I throw more fastballs for strikes than before.”

More notes —

*Orlando Cabrera snapped his four-game hit streak. He was was 8-for-21 during it. He also had five doubles during this series.

*Paul Janish has an eight -game hit streak (11-for-31, .355)

*Drew Stubbs hit safely in eight of last 10 games. Check out this notebook item I did on Stubbs before the game.

*This was game 14 of a 20-game stretch without a day off. The next off day doesn’t come until Thursday of next week between Milwaukee and San Diego.

More quotes —

“You don’t play this game for 162 games, you really don’t. You can throw them all in the trash once the playoff start. But we have to get there first. You get there by playing the way we’ve been playing. I think we’ve done a good job of keeping our eye on the prize.” — Jonny Gomes

“We knew it was going to be a tough stretch physically and emotionally, and everything especially down the stretch.” — Dusty Baker on the 20-straight game stretch the Reds are in.

One other thing –

I am off for this weekend’s series at Houston. But I will return starting Monday in Milwaukee and will ride with you until the end — whenever that may be.

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

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