back in 1st place. since the cardinals' back-to-back sweeps at the hands of the astros and reds, here are the nl central standings:
most encouraging events from last night's game: rolen's dinger and double. most surprising: juan encarnacion's walk, his first in over 3,000 plate appearances . . . .ok, actually 132 plate appearances, but who's counting. most opaque: jason marquis' pitching line. you gotta like the 3 hits / 1 run in 7 innings, but not the 4 walks / 1 strikeout. he didn't miss a single bat last night; 0 swing-misses. his sinker still isn't sinking, and he rarely threw it last night -- indeed, threw almost nothing but fastballs. his first trip through the dback batting order took 35 pitches; 28 were fastballs. and marquis needed just 31 pitches to get through his last four innings; 26 were fastballs. the only inning where he attempted to feature his off-speed stuff was the 3d, commencing his 2d trip through the order; and that's the only inning where he struggled. one terrible sinker at the shoulders (to eric byrnes) brought bennett out to the mound for a consultation, another one in the dirt on the next batter (ball four to chad tracy) summoned duncan and got josh hancock warming up in the bullpen. so jason went back to the fastball and stayed with it the rest of the night. perhaps there's a lesson to be learned here. marquis was throwing 93-94 early on, still cracking 90 mph after 80+ pitches, and locating the fastball well; he was ahead in the count most of the night (the 4 walks notwithstanding), and the dbacks didn't hit the ball particularly hard.
whatever . . . .