May 20, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcherJason Marquis
(21) throws during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
And all the chips as well after 9 innings of play in a fine San Diego night, hosting one of the hottest teams in the NL in St Louis. The Padre hitters have also been hot as of late, but tonight, the game played out more like Petco of old, with a solid pitching backed up by familiar mainstays in the bullpen. Jason Marquis had a marquee night, going 6 innings, and striking out 3, walking 4 and earning 2 double plays. Well, marquee maybe a bit of stretch, but I’ve been dying to use that for a while now. Considering the tough match up against rising Cardinal star Shelby Miller, and the stress of facing a strong and balanced Cardinals lineup, marquee may very well be an apt description. Jason held his composure even when stressed early with a bases loaded scenario and a rare run scoring miscue by Chase Headley. Jason was able to keep the Cardinals looking uncomfortable all night, throwing a heavy diet of hit me sinkers and sliders. Jason threw 58.1% sinkers, 38.7% sliders, and 3.2% change ups. No four seamers for Cards until the bullpen, and it seemed to wear on the Cardinals who may have been more used to hitting, as well as pounding the high heat. Jason now leads the Padre starting pitchers with 6 wins and sports a 3.27 ERA.
Padre hitters also held their own tonight, tagging 3 earned runs against Shelby Miller. Miller is at this point in his career, essentially a fastball pitcher with an effective curve. In fact, Miller started off the first inning by only throwing fastballs to the Padres, going 24 straight at one point. In a way, it was interesting to watch Marquis only throwing sinkers, while matched by Miller only throwing fastballs. I suppose you ride the horse that gets you there. The Padre hitters were able to pick away at Miller and eventually chased him in the 6th, before pushing through the bullpen. Overall a great game by the Padres for a solid win, and not backing down against the NL elite.
With a quarter of the season already over(yes it passes by quicker than you think), I can’t say that I’m happy with 21-23. I’ve been pleased with their play of late, but we should expect a lot from the Padres. It is ok to expect more, and still be pleased with the fighting spirit that the Padres have exuded to hold on for dear life in the division. Catcher Yasmani Grandal is nearing return – for all that’s been said and done, I see his return as helpful and should be construed as a positive. And for all the early adversity that the Padres have faced, it may spin into a positive if we can survive long enough to contend. The Padre players seem to be more comfortable than their opponents while in stressful situations. It has become like second nature for the friars.