On August 2nd, Marquez was victimized for seven earned runs and was pulled in the third inning. Five days later, he went a little longer, 5 1/3 innings, but still allowed five earned runs.
"The ball was elevated," Jeff Marquez said. "I had good stuff actually and I felt real good, I kind of felt too good. I was throwing pretty good, but I just tried too hard. And once things got out of control, I didn't really slow it down like I should have."
Looking at Marquez's overall numbers, you would not suspect he has been roughed up much: he has an 11-8 record and a 3.82 ERA in 22 starts for Trenton. Drafted by the Yankees 41st overall in the 2004 draft out of Sacramento City College, Marquez's ERA has been below 4 in his four Minor League seasons. And he just turned 23 on Friday.
"I've struggled before," he admitted. "But I try to end the season good, which I've been able to do. My previous years I start off kind of rough, and then I ended up doing better in the end."
Marquez throws a sinking two-seam fastball, a changeup and a curveball. He considers himself a ground-ball pitcher, using his two-seam fastball to get hitters out early in the count.
"I try and get as quick an out as possible," Marquez said. "I'm not trying to throw a lot of pitches. I'm trying to go deep in the game; I'm [still] more of a sinker ball guy."
With his changeup and two-seamer his two mainstays, he has worked this season mostly on his curveball, which has improved of late.
"It's his least developed pitch," said Trenton pitching coach Scott Aldred of Marquez's curve. "His changeup's better than his curveball right now, but his curveball's got a chance to be pretty good."
Marquez said he hopes for the curve, which has deceptive spin, to become his strikeout pitch.
"The spin of it is getting a lot better because [it looks] more like a four-seam fastball," Marquez said, sSo I get more swing-and-misses with it. When it's the zone, the hitters are swinging more at it and that's what I'm going for."
Control is also an area where Marquez can improve. He has 73 strikeouts in 125 innings, which is a fine number for a groundball pitcher [Marquez also keeps the ball in the stadium: he has given up just nine home runs]. But surrendering so many walks, 40, can be a hindrance when hitters are often putting balls in play.
Marquez walked four In his first start against the B-Mets. He was better the second time, though, surrendering just one.
"He did not command quite as well as he's capable of, but his stuff was good," Aldred said of Marquez's start on Tuesday. "He just got hit. And we've been working on overall command of his fastball and consistency with his curveball."
With a little more control of all his pitches and a little more refinement of his curveball, Marquez can do what he always has: finish the season on a high note. "Four of five strong starts" are what Aldred said he hopes to see.
"This year I started pretty good, but you always go through a few bumps in the road," said Marquez, who had a 1.29 ERA in his final six starts in 2005 and a 5-1 record and a 2.59 ERA in his final six starts last season. "I'm trying to even them out toward the end of the season."
Marquez Hopes To Finish Strong
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