Saturday, May 2, 2009

Jason Marquis Leads Colorado Rockies To Complete Game Victory

This offseason, Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd knew that he would need to add depth in the starting pitching department. He was only one year removed from opening the season with Kip Wells and Mark Redman as key members of the pitching staff.

That may have been why O'Dowd continued to pursue Marquis even after it seemed like there was not much of a chance that the Rockies could acquire him.

In the end, O'Dowd shrewdly unloaded failed reliever Luis Vizcaino and got the Cubs to pay part of Marquis' '09 salary.

The move has proven to be the best decision that O'Dowd made.

On Saturday Marquis shut down the San Francisco Giants. He pitched a complete game five hitter in which he gave up only one run on a ninth inning home run to Pablo Sandoval.

Marquis got 14 outs on ground balls. Four other outs came via the strikeout and of the nine other outs, several came on weak fly balls that did not get out of the infield.

Marquis' performance overshadowed the hitting attack led by Ryan Spilborghs, who hit two home runs, one on the second pitch of the game, to set the pace for Colorado.

While both Ubaldo Jimenez and ace Aaron Cook have struggled to get started this season, Marquis has taken the team on his shoulders. He has shown an uncanny ability to not let the uncontrollable conditions of a game get to him. He pitched well in his return to Wrigley Field on a cold day that never reached above 40 degrees. He also pitched well in the home opener for the Rockies, and on a cold and rainy day on Saturday in San Francisco.

Earlier in the season Marquis made a comment that he believed this Rockies team was good, but needed to learn how to shake off the previous day. He credited that to the Rockies being a young team.

Marquis clearly has decided to lead by example. After a tough loss on Friday night, one in which the tying run was on third base in the 8th inning, Marquis came out and delivered the way that he knows how.

With the emergence of Jorge De La Rosa, who has been plagued by little to no run support, to go along with Marquis, it makes a Rockies fan look forward to days in which both Cook and Jimenez find their strides and pitch well. That would give the Rockies four solid starters in the rotation, something that most teams only dream of.

If the rotation finds its depth, a lineup that sports Ian Stewart hitting in the seventh spot, the Rockies could very well crawl back into the race in the National League West.

Sitting at 9-13, the Rockies have a respectable record considering how many games they have played on the road and the fact that very few times has the entire club been hitting on all cylinders at the same time.

It looks like the offense is ready to break out with Spilborghs finding his swing, Todd Helton hitting over .300 and leading the team in RBI's and Troy Tulowitzki showing signs of life as of late.

With the team struggling early to find their groove, Marquis has been a catalyst for keeping the Rockies within striking distance in the NL West. His success has shown the Rockies that despite the results of the previous game, the next day presents another opportunity to win. His attitude, along with his abilities on the mound, may be exactly what the Rockies need to be successful this season.

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