ALL THINGS MARQUIS
All Jason Marquis needed Wednesday night was the leadoff homer hit by Alfonso Soriano in the bottom of the 1st. Marquis threw a complete game shutout, giving up only 3 hits while striking out 5 and walking none. He needed only 110 pitches–73 of which were strikes–to finish off the Bucs.
Coming off the 15-inning loss on Tuesday, nothing was needed more than a long, solid outing by Marquis. Piniella said he had planned on using Guzman and Rich Hill as relievers for the game, but Marquis allowed everyone some much need rest.
Marquis’ game score was 86, tied for best outing of the year. Marquis, Lilly and Rich Hill occupy 3 of the top ten slots for highest average game score in the NL. Marquis also now shares the league-lead in wins and is the outright leader in lowest WHIP at .90.
If you thought his April was great, May has been even better. In his 2 May starts Marquis has thrown 17 innings, allowing only 1 run on a solo homer. He’s allowed only 7 hits and has yet to walk a batter against 10 Ks.
Of all the signings over the winter, I’d definitely put the Cubs’ signing of Marquis as one of the dumbest. They gave him 21 million over 3 years when I wasn’t sure there was even anyone else bidding. I called him “an expensive rehab project”. I ended that post with a “Here’s hoping I couldn’t be more wrong.” And so far I couldn’t. Here’s what Hendry said about the signing:
“Certainly over a three-year look back, Jason’s statistics, and wins, certainly validate that kind of a salary.
It’s probably not discussed a lot, and not to put him into a category others wouldn’t, but you’re in the big leagues to do two things as a starter: You have to win games and pitch innings. Over the last three years, he won more games than Zito and Schmidt. He had a bad couple of months [last season] and he’d be the first person to admit it, but we felt he was certainly capable of winning 14 or 15 a year, and doing it with a lower ERA and pitching a lot of innings.”
So far so good. Schmidt is on the DL while Zito has been stellar for San Fran except for one pounding in his his 2nd start. Marquis won’t end the year with an ERA under 2 and he probably won’t end up leading the league in wins. He may still fall flat on his face. But if the Cubs are still in it come August and September, we’ll be looking back at Marquis’ hot start as one of the main reasons.
[tags]Jason Marquis, Cubs, MLB[/tags]