Results tagged ‘ Jason Marquis ’

Calling out the pitchers

Rockies right-hander Jason Marquis upheld a tradition for veteran pitchers. After some ugly numbers Saturday against the Mariners — 3 2/3 innings, nine hits, five runs, two walks, 88 pitches — he chalked it up to just being in Spring Training.

“For the most part, I executed a lot of pitches like I wanted to, and [hits] found some holes,” Marquis said. “A lot of positives, a lot of two-strike counts. It was a step in the right direction. I got my pitch count up. That’s why we’re here, to work on a few things, get some things straightened out. I think I’ve got four starts left.

“I didn’t really use my changeup as much as I would during the season. I was trying to get my curveball over for a strike — not only for a strike, but bury it when I needed to and throw it for a strike when I needed to. There were certain counts when I don’t think I would have thrown my curveball normally, but today I did. I tried to get a better feel for a cutter, not spinning it so much.”

Normally, that’s a right afforded pitchers who have been around. Marquis qualifies, having pitched for the Braves, Cardinals and Cubs.

But manager Clint Hurdle wasn’t as happy with Marquis’s direction.

“He had too many deep counts,” Hurdle said. “As a staff, we’re not executing anywhere near the level we’re going to need to execute to be successful. As a group, we’re talking about throwing 70 percent first-pitch strikes. We’re not doing it. We’re talking about acute location of our fastball, arm-side. We’re not doing it, so more of the same today.

“We’ve got some guys that are showing some flashes of some things, but as a staff, we’ve got to cover some ground here.”

Informed that Marquis said he was working on some pitches, Hurdle sounded as unhappy with the explanation as the performance.

“It’s time they started making comments after a game that ‘I commanded my fastball, I threw strikes, my slider was sharp, I had a good sinker,'” Hurdle said. “That’s what we need to start doing.”

It was clear Hurdle was delivering a message, not just to Marquis but to all of the starters. Only Aaron Cook and Ubaldo Jimenez, who has done his most-recent pitching for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, have been consistently solid. 

It’s not as if Hurdle threatening massive changes in the rotation. The Rockies traded for Marquis to provide veteran leadership. That won’t change. Hurdle has been exceedingly patient with Jorge De La Rosa, who has struggled his last two times out and will meet the Dodgers on Sunday. The team is still trying to sort through a host of pitchers for the fifth starting spot.

Hurdle’s call for better quality might be as much a clarification as a declaration.

Some of the ugly early performances from starters occurred because the pitchers were under orders to work on one thing — fastball command — and had to pitch to a specific pattern. Hitters quickly figured out what pitch was coming. The Rockies relaxed those orders after each pitcher had a couple of starts.

But how close are the Rockies supposed to be to the form they need for a regular season that starts 23 days from now? The way Hurdle spoke on Saturday, it’s not close enough.

– Hurdle also was not happy with right-handed reliever Jason Grilli, who pitched well for Italy in the World Baseball Classic but gave up three hits and two runs in his inning.

“We’ve got to have improved focus and discipline off the mound,” Hurdle said. “Twenty pitches, poor fastball command, pitching one side of the plate. We’ve got way to many guys pitching one side of the plate that aren’t good enough to be pitching one side of the plate. These are things and areas we need to target and work on as we move forward.”

– Left-handed non-roster candidate Cedrick Bowers gav eup three runs on one hit and two walks before leaving with a back/rib cage injury that has hampered him all spring.

– Righty Ryan Speier continued his scoreless spring (six innings) by giving up one hit and a walk but striking out two in the ninth.

Instrasquad Monday … No Helton (on the lineup card, at least)

*– See update at the bottom

First off, my apologies for the lack of a blog the last couple of days. I ran into some issues with the technology that are beyond my expertise. Those have been rectified. I have no idea how.

The Rockies are off according to the Cactus League schedule, but they’re on the field at Hi Corbett for an intrasquad game.

But first baseman Todd Helton won’t be. Helton, who homered on Sunday in his first Cactus League game this year, had hoped to play designated hitter. But pitchers are batting in this game. Also, it rained overnight in Tucson, so there’s no reason to risk his recovering back on a wet field.

Here are lineups:

Team A

CF Dexter Fowler

SS Jonathan Herrera

3B Ian Stewart

RF Daniel Ortmeier

2B Chris Nelson

C Paul Phillips

1B Edwin Bellorin

LF Christian Colonel

RHP Jason Marquis

Team B

2B Eric Young Jr.

SS Omar Quintanilla

CF Carlos Gonzalez

1B Joe Koshansky

LF Matt Miller

C Matt McKenry

3B Luis Gonzalez

CF Chris Frey

LHP Glendon Rusch

*UPDATE – One need not be on a lineup card to participate in an intrasquad game. The Rockies arranged for Helton to bat third in six different half-innings. He went 2-for-6 with a double. 

Thoughts of Tucson, B game extravaganza

First baseman Todd Helton has expressed a desire to play in today’s B game against D-backs, but he’s not in the starting lineup. Helton was hoping to be the designated hitter, but the lineup has the pitcher batting. Here it is:

Eric Young Jr.                 2B

Dexter Fowler                 CF

Carlos Gonzalez             RF

Daniel Ortmeier              1B

Yorvit Torrealba                C

Matt Miller                     LF

Luis Gonzalez               3B

Chris Nelson                 SS

Jason Marquis                P

– A couple of days ago, I wrote that six communities outside of Tucson — mostly in the Phoenix metro area — are in various stages of proposing a new spring home for the Rockies. Tucson continues to try, but with so many teams in Phoenix and with the local community having to overcome the economy and the distance from Phoenix, the Rockies have one foot out the door and another on a banana peel.

A move to Phoenix makes a lot of sense. But it’s too bad.

At the risk of sounding like a John Mellencamp song, I get enough of the big town during the regular season, especially Phoenix. I like being off the Major League path. Tucson has good restaurants and is surrounded by natural beauty. Yes, Phoenix is more convenient. When the Rockies play there, you just have to deal with the awful traffic. When the Rockies play in Tucson, you’ve got a two-hour drive before the traffic jam before the game, and a two-hour drive after a postgame jam that’s worse than the pregame snarl.

Oops.

Actually, Phoenix is a nice place to visit. I recommend Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe, a soul food joint down the street from Chase Field (smothered chicken or smothered pork chops are worth every bite; worry about the calories some other time), and My Florist, a funky fern bar-restaurant complete with a pianist (where you could go worldly and order tuna nicoise salad, or go grade school and ask for PB&J) not terribly far from the ballpark. But give me something different during Spring Training.

Lineups are in, Baker is out

The Rockies put up a lineup for this afternoon against the Dodgers, and already have a change. Jeff Baker was supposed to be designated hitter, but he was scratched for Matt Murton because of tenderness in his right elbow.

Speaking of injuries, third baseman-outfielder Ian Stewart said he is gradually healing from a left biceps strain he suffered while swinging before Thursday’s game. Stewart said he is hoping to return to the batting cage on Sunday.

So here’s today’s lineup:

Eric Young Jr.            2B

Scott Podsednik        LF

Troy Tulowitzki          SS

Matt Murton              DH

Yorvit Torrealba          C

Daniel Ortmeier        1B

Carlos Gonzalez       CF

Christian Colonel      RF

Jason Marquis          P

Jorge De La Rosa and Josh Fogg also are schedueld to throw two innings apiece.

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