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Game 67 Open Thread

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suppan francis
5-4, 5.35 5-5, 3.76

if there's one thing more irritating than a sloppily pitched marquis victory, it's a well-pitched one. he threw strikes, he got people out; not very difficult. la russa/dunc were lauding the sinker in today's paper, but his bread-butter last night was the fastball as far as i could tell. in the first two innings he threw almost nothing but; got his first five outs all on fastballs, and fell behind in the count when he strayed (against atkins and hawpe) into off-speed territory. in his only scary at-bat of the evening -- the two-out confrontation with helton in top 8, with the tying run at 1st and the cards only leading 2-1 -- jason threw 9 straight fastballs to helton. got away with a couple of juicy ones, too, and retired him on a pitch at the clavicle that might have been ball four. that's not to criticize marquis; that's to reiterate that his fastball is his best pitch. it's the one pitch he can move around the strike zone with some semblance of precision, the one he can reliably miss the fat part of the bat with -- the one he can make hitters uncomfortable with. screw the @#$#% sinker; knock 'em back with that fastball. this game put me in mind of one from last month, described here, in which his fastball carried him; i didn't watch ev'y frame from last night, but the helton at-bat tells me what i need to know. in crunch time, marquis clung to that fastball for dear life; that's the pitch he'll live or die with.

he has now won 6 consecutive decisions; here's his line over that span:

ip h bb so go fo era whip
49 34 21 17 64 64 3.31 1.122

this is starting to vaguely resemble mulder's 2d-half success in 2005, wherein all his peripherals suggested he had no business getting hitters out . . . . yet he kept getting hitters out. you look at jason's line here --more walks than strikeouts, a piddling 3.1 strikeouts/9, a flat ground-fly ratio -- and you think: can't last. his BABIP remains unsustainably low, at .242 -- no pitcher on earth can keep that up. but -- as happened with mulder last season -- at a certain point you have to stop arguing with success. i'm not there with marquis yet, but if i see a few more 7- or 8-inning, 2-walk performances, i'll be a lot more inclined to suspend disbelief and -- in the immortal words of danup's mom -- just go with it.

in the meantime, beware the demonic jason, the five-walks-two-homers monster who always lurks within 21's jersey. that creature is exactly like his namesake from friday the 13th; you can never kill him. he always rises from the dead to terrorize you anew.

ev'yone's favorite mound prospect, mr reyes, had an off night but still notched a win -- rather marquis-like of him, no? one rung below, chris lambert turned in another very impressive outing -- 7ip, 2h, 0r, 2w, 8k. in his last 8 starts, lambert has put up a 4-2 record, 3.45 era, and 45-19 k/w ratio; maybe he's finally getting the hang of double a. let's hope so.

and DCGreg's secret is out of the bag: trey hearne fired 6 innings of no-run, 10-strikeout ball for quad cities last night. if you're just jumping aboard the bandwagon (plenty of room!), get up to speed here. last night's win brings hearne's era down to 2.74; he has 49 ks (vs only 9 walks) in 46 innings. since joining the rotation last month, hearne has made four starts with these results: 22ip, 17h, 2r, 4w, 25k. he also retired 22 consecutive men at one point earlier this season as a reliever.

last minor-league note: here's a profile of blake hawksworth.