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The Plan: Brushing Up On Jason Marquis

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The one word summarizing Jason Marquis' 4.24 ERA is lucky.  His sinker, which I guess it can be called, is a bad pitch for different reasons against LHB and RHB.  Against lefties, he can't or won't throw it for a strike with any kind of consistency.  I take this to mean he's nibbling and, to some extent, he's been successful.  Lefties aren't hitting for much power off him and it looks like he's been the victim of some seeing-eye singles.  On the other hand, it's undoubtedly costing him bad counts and walks, as fangraphs' split BB graph shows.  Having AJ in the two hole should get Q!, JD and Swish up with a man on base, though AJ might feel obliged to help Marquis out.  If a poor offensive showing forces Thome's pinch hitting skills to be called upon with Marquis in the game, he too should look for the walk.

For the righties, the key is staying away from the plus slider.  The change up is entirely a show-me pitch that rarely gets over the plate.  Our lineup is susceptible to the change, but I don't think Marquis' is good enough to be a difference maker.  Getting into good counts and forcing Marquis to bring the fastball over the plate should be doable.  Last time we saw a fastball/slider righty, it was Ian Snell.  Marquis may be smarter than Snell, but his repertoire is not more diverse.  Our 3-4-5 hitters are dialed in at the moment and this "sinker" hardly acts as such against righties. 

There really isn't much going for Marquis and he's more or less what we know him as: a mediocre 5th starter.  PECOTA pegged him for a 5.1 VORP in 17 starts and its prediction of a 0 Stuff rating looks sound to me.  If Jose can keep the ball on the ground like Danks' did yesterday, the matchup looks pretty good.  I think it will help that Jose gets a righty-righty matchup on Lee and Ramirez which allows him to drop down and throw the forkball from two arm angles.