Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rockies Set Franchise Mark Behind Jason Marquis

Jason Marquis is a man of many labels. Not many of them are too desirable.

For whatever reason, Marquis has critics all over baseball. Despite winning at least 11 games in each of the last six seasons, Marquis gets labeled. Experts say that despite the win total, Marquis is not really a good pitcher, he is just an inning-eater, meaning that he is really only good for going out and pitching into the seventh inning, not dominating.

Others point to Marquis’ second half numbers and say that he wears down after the All-Star break. There is no doubt that in the past Marquis has seen his ERA rise and his win total dip in the last three months of the season.

This season for the Rockies none of those old adjectives are being used to describe the New Yorker. Instead words like bulldog, fierce competitor, warrior, and fighter are being used to describe who the Jason Marquis who dons a Rockies uniform.

On Tuesday night, Marquis went to the mound looking for his 15th victory of the season. It was his fourth try since getting his 14th win of the season three weeks ago.

The win helped the Rockies achieve a milestone for the franchise. At 79-60, the Rockies sit 19 games over .500 for the first time in franchise history. Before this season, the previous best was 17 games over .500, a mark that took the Rockies 163 games of a season to reach.

Marquis has been doing everything that he can to dispel the previous numbers that show he falls off a cliff in the second half of the season. Despite a recent slump, Marquis is still pitching very well. He tied his personal record with 15 wins on Tuesday night. Despite taking the loss in two of his last four outings, he pitched well enough in three of those to get the wins, but did not receive the offensive support to notch the victory.

His performance on Tuesday showed that he is turning the corner in regards to his second half numbers. Marquis looked just like the Marquis that won seven games after a Rockies loss in the first half of the season. He was nimble around the strike zone and threw a slider that had more bite on it than Marquis has thrown in quite some time.

In all, Marquis threw 7-1/3 innings, striking out seven while walking three batters. He gave up just four hits and one earned run. The run came in the eighth inning when the Reds were able to get their first two hitters aboard. With no one out, and the Rockies holding on to a 2-0 lead, a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position. That was it for Marquis, who gave way to Randy Flores who was able to get Joey Votto to pop out, good enough to move the runners up, scoring a run.

Rafael Betancourt then came in and got Brandon Phillips to ground out to end the inning. In the bottom half of the eighth the Rockies played small ball to secure a two run lead once again. Ryan Spilborghs pinch hit and doubled to the right-center gap. Omar Quintanilla then bunted him to third and Carlos Gonzalez hit a long fly ball to center field, scoring Spilborghs.

Marquis was able to get the win thanks to a solo home run to left field from Eric Young Jr., starting at second base after Clint Barmes moved over to spell the ailing Troy Tulowitzki. Young got the barrel on the ball for the second time in the night, the first time coming on his first inning double, when he scored the first run and got the Rockies the early lead. The home run was Young’s first in the big leagues.

The Rockies are getting victories due in large part from contributions from players they least expect if from. On a night when Tulowitzki and Ian Stewart were out due to back injuries, the Rockies needed offense needed a boost from someone else. That someone else came in the form of Eric Young Jr. He stepped it up in a big way, helping the Rockies to a huge victory.

The Rockies look to secure the series victory and run their record to 20 games over .500. The Rockies send Jason Hammel to the mound to face Bronson Arroyo, who has turned in eight consecutive quality starts.

2 comments:

  1. I'm definitely in the category of considering Marquis an innings eater, but I don't think that's necessarily a put down. Especially in Coors, pitchers who can go deep into games can really make a difference over the course of 162 game season (and maybe beyond). More than C.C. Sabathia's dominance last year, I think the Brewers were able to make the playoffs because of his ability to let the bullpen rest.

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  2. Schruender,
    I agree that Marquis' ability to eat innings is a huge plus...I just think using that adjective to describe him really robs some of the talent that he has shown in winning at least 11 games in each of the last six seasons. I realize he has lost quite a few games too, but he is really a bulldog with quite a bit of ability.

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