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Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Marquis winning ground war

Bugs & Cranks on last night's gem:
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.

Also, it would help if Seth Smith played more.