Jason Marquis looks to build off last start

Jason Marquis will face his former club tonight as he tries to chip away at his ERA. When Marquis had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow on May 14th, he went to the DL with a 20.52 ERA–a combination of only three starts, a few innings pitched and a lot of earned runs–but since his return earlier this month, he’s been steadily lowering that number.

 

“I’ve been working hard to get back to where I need to be,” Marquis said. “I was sick and tired of embarrassing myself out there.”

 

And the strategy has been successful. Marquis turned in his best outing in a Nationals uniform last time he was on the mound. In Friday’s game at Philadelphia, he allowed just one run on four hits  in five innings. Despite taking the loss in a 1-0 game, it was his longest outing on the mound this season.

 

“The results are a lot better than what they have been,” Marquis said. “I lost control of some counts, which I was unhappy about. But you still have to make pitches and get out of jams–and it’s a step in the right direction.”

 

Marquis did walk four in that game, but when it counted, he allowed Philadelphia to go only 1-6 with runners in scoring position. Remember, Marquis won 23 games during a two-year stint (2007-08) with the Cubs. Only two other guys, namely Ted Lilly and Carlos Zambrano, won more games for the Cubs in the same two-year span. He is also one of just ten Big League pitchers to have a double-digit win total every season since 2004. He is the only guy to do it exclusively in the National League.

 

In other ERA news, last night Miguel Batista (2.0 innings), Collin Balester (1.0), and Craig Stammen (1.0) combined for four innings of one-hit relief and didn’t allow a single run. Considering last year’s bullpen ranked last in MLB with a 5.04 ERA, this year’s 3.52 ERA thus far seems miniscule. It’s also good enough for eighth in MLB. The improvement of -1.52 points paces the Majors and second place isn’t even close–the Padres claim a -0.96 improvement. In fact, it ranks number five in the greatest bullpen ERA shrinkages since 2000.

 

Now for those lineups:

Cubs (53-74):

1.    Kosuke Fukudome – RF

2.    Starlin Castro – SS

3.    Marlon Byrd – CF

4.    Aramis Ramirez – 3B

5.    Micah Hoffpauir – 1B

6.    Alfonso Soriano – LF

7.    Blake DeWitt – 2B

8.    Geovany Soto – C

9.    Ryan Dempster – SP (11-8, 3.56 ERA)

*Alfonso Soriano clubbed his 20th home run of the season last night, a three-run shot in the second inning. He has now hit 20 or more long balls in nine consecutive seasons.

 Nationals (53-73):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Ian Desmond – SS

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Roger Bernadina – LF 

6.      Michael Morse – RF

7.      Adam Kennedy – 2B

8.      Wil Nieves – C

9.      Jason Marquis – SP (0-6, 11.39 ERA)

1 Comment

I wanted to comment on the August 21 game between the Nats and the Phillies. That is the game that Nyjer is being suspended. In that game Dunn was up in the ninth—the count was 2-1—a green laser light moved from his body to his eyes. I wonder if the League is looking into that as well as Nyjer’s behavior. Dunn even pointed it out to the ump after it happened. The Phillies fans are the worst in the league–whether it’s there or on the road.

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