Bugs & Cranks on last night's gem: Marquis
- In case you missed it, Jason Marquis was Bob Gibson, Orel Hershiser, and Greg Maddux all rolled into one last night.
In other words, he was pretty special. A kind of special Rockies fans have seen maybe seven or eight times in 17 years ... and six of those came AGAINST the Rockies.
Marquis needed only 86 pitches (66 strikes) to throw a complete game, two-hit shutout of the first place Dodgers. He threw first pitch strikes to 16 of the first 19 batters - 22 of 29 overall. He struck out only three, while amassing a ridiculous 17 groundball outs.
It's those groundball outs that caught my eye. Marquis has been quite good for the Rockies: 10-5, 3.87 ERA. And he's doing it on the ground. While he's not exactly an extreme groundball pitcher, his ground/fly ratio is the highest of his career; the second highest was in 2004, when -- probably not coincidentally -- Marquis enjoyed the best season of his career.
It's not like Marquis has completely changed his style; last summer, then-Cubs teammate Sean Gallagher described Marquis' style as "sinker, sinker, sinker." Repertoire-wise, Marquis is throwing a few more sliders than he did last year, and fewer changeups. Nothing obvious that would explain his apparent transformation.
Whatever he's doing, though, he should keep doing it. As good as Marquis has been this year, he's not the unalloyed ace of the staff, as Ubaldo Jimenez and Aaron Cook both have lower ERA's (though not by much) than Marquis' 3.87.
But Jimenez and Cook are doing about what we might have expected them to do. It's Marquis -- and Jason Hammel, too -- who have been the real surprises, it's Marquis and Hammel who will have to keep surprising us if the whole team is going to continue surprising us.