it took 26 pitches for the game to get away from marquis last night. of the first 25, he threw 17 for strikes and induced three swing-misses; when he missed, he missed low. although he'd made a couple of mistakes and trailed 2-0, he was pitching his game -- fastballs, sinkers -- and just this close to establishing a rhythm. he might've gotten himself out of the inning and settled in, as many good pitchers do. but marquis' 26th pitch, a 2-2 delivery to ryan church with two out and none on, was nowhere near the target; a supposed sinker, it started out at church's eyes and "sunk" to his collarbone for ball three. terrible pitch. marquis took the return throw from molina and walked sullenly back to the rubber, wearing that petulant grimace he tends to get when he's frustrated. marquis was still only one pitch away from ending the inning, but rather than bear down and refocus he seemed resigned to further trouble; didn't come close with his 3-2 fastball to church, missed badly again on the first pitch to zimmerman, then threw another non-sinker that crossed the plate at the batter's thighs and got launched over the wall. 4-0.
he was unwatchable the rest of the way, missing targets all over the place and leaving that sinker up above the belt with distressing regularity. of his last 69 pitches, jason threw barely half for strikes. for the second game in a row, he yielded two homers and 7 runs; didn't give his team a chance.
according to molina (quoted in the post-dispatch), marquis started overthrowing the sinker after his early misses in the dirt, elevating the pitch and flattening it out. the tape backs him up; you could hardly tell the sinker from the fastball, so alike were the two pitches' trajectories. they differed only on the radar gun, and not by enough mph -- the sinker that zimmerman hit out crossed the plate at 85, which is about 5 mph too fast.
that's the jason we don't want to see -- the bullheaded one. and so his war against himself continues; i get the feeling we're not gonna see it resolved this season.
a few other quick notes: aaron miles went 0 for 4 in the #2 slot, leaving the cards' #2 hitters at .242 on the year with a .280 on-base pct. that's largely due to you-know-who, who batted 2d in half the team's games and posted a .227 obp there. the good news is that opposing teams' #2s have fared even worse -- they're hitting .222 against stl pitchers, with a .261 obp. . . . . cardnilly's uniform-number countdown reaches number 49 . . . . the diaspora has launched an amusing new series, coveting thy neighbor's ass -- profiling the player who rates as the biggest flop (a la juan encarnacion) on each team the cardinals face.