Cardinal Nation,

Let me start this post by saying that I agree that Jason Marquis can be a very bullheaded, stubborn, whiny little punk. BUT, I think as a whole, the guy deserves some dap for what he has done this season and maybe we should all get off his back and try to enjoy his production. I know there's the talk of his low strikeout rates, his high walk rates, his high fly ball ratios and on and on, but the bottom line - yes, sometimes you gotta look at the bottom line - is that he now stands at 7-4 with a 4.75 era and a respectable 1.26 whip. We should also acknowledge that Monday was a key game for the Birds to beat Oswalt and position themselves to win the series and potentially bury the Stros. Marquis did his part and Pujols did the rest.

The point of this post is to take a closer look into Marquis' season. He started out great with three solid starts before the frustratingly awful four-game stretch. Since then, he has rattled off four-straight W's.

In his seven victories, Marquis has went 49.1 ip (5.1, 6, 8, 7, 7.2, 8.1 and 7 ip) and has posted a sparkling 2.92 era with a 0.89 whip and a 5.52 k per 9 ratio. These games haven't exactly come against cupcake lineups either. Here is the list of teams Marquis has beaten - Philly, Milwaukee, Arizona, New York Mets, San Fran and Houston with the lone non-playoff caliber team being the lowly Pirates.

His four losses were against the Cubs, Nats, Stros and Rockies --- only 1 playoff caliber team in that group.

So is it possible that Marquis pitches to the level of his competition? Was the four-game stretch just a hiccup in his continuing maturation process that we saw begin in the second half of last season? Or is it like so many seem to think, that Marquis is just a head case who will rattle off four in a row and then completely lose it for a month before finding his groove again?

I personally think the kid is 27 and is doing quite well for himself. I give him the benefit of the doubt and still think he is capable of being a major asset for STL this season, this postseason and for many years to come if resigned.

Finally, I just wish that if we are going to be so hard on the guy when he is bad that we'd give him a bit more praise when he steps up and gets it done like today and like he has in nearly 65 percent of his starts this year.