A.J. Burnett is enjoying a late-career resurgence with the
Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, while the San Diego Padres are Jason
Marquis’ second team this season and sixth in the last five
When the right-handers matched up 10 days ago, those narratives
didn’t continue quite the same way.
Marquis looks to shut down the Pirates yet again Tuesday night
at Petco Park while Burnett tries to bounce back from a pair of
rough outings to become Pittsburgh’s first 16-game winner in 21
Burnett (15-4, 3.54 ERA) has given the Pirates a true
front-of-the-rotation starter following three rocky years with the
Yankees, but his last two starts have been a slight cause for
concern. He allowed five runs and nine hits over 5 2-3 innings of a
5-0 loss to San Diego (54-70) on Aug. 11, then gave up six runs
over 6 2-3 in a 10-6 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday.
Still, Burnett will take the hill Tuesday looking to become the
Pirates’ first 16-game winner since 1991, when John Smiley won 20
and Zane Smith 16.
Marquis (6-7, 4.08), meanwhile, has won 18 games while posting a
5.18 ERA in 57 starts for four teams over the past three seasons.
That’s why it was so surprising when the journeyman tossed a
two-hitter at PNC Park to beat Burnett earlier this month, taking a
no-no into the seventh.
“He can be very efficient with the late life (on his sinker).
You’ve got to get under that ball, or stay inside of it,”
Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle, who briefly managed Marquis in
Colorado, told the Pirates’ official website. “I’ve seen that, and
it can be challenging, because you keep wanting to hit, but you
don’t hit anything hard.
“It’s the late life, it’s the late movement, staying off the
barrel, staying down. A lot of ground balls from our side, and just
not many balls squared up at all.”
The Pirates (67-55) didn’t get many balls squared up in Monday’s
series opener, striking out 13 times in a 3-1 loss as their lead
for the NL’s second wild-card spot dropped to one-half game over
Pittsburgh’s 163 strikeouts in August are the most in the
majors. League MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen is the latest
surprising culprit, going 3 for 18 with nine strikeouts over his
last three games.
McCutchen is hitting just .206 without a homer in 18 career
contests against San Diego, with the Pirates going 4-14. He has
three singles in 26 career at-bats at Petco.
Burnett, on the other hand, might welcome a start in San Diego.
Though he’s generally been at his best at home in 2012, he’s 3-0
with a 1.44 ERA and .100 opponent batting average in his last three
He’s made two starts in San Diego – one a nondescript outing at
Petco in 2005, and the other his infamous nine-walk no-hitter at
Qualcomm Stadium in 2001 with Florida.
Marquis is 6-1 with a 2.80 ERA in his last seven starts against
the Pirates. Six of the 14 earned runs he’s allowed in that stretch
came in the lone loss.
Marquis enters this start looking to bounce back from a rough
outing. After the two-hitter in Pittsburgh, he saw three pitches
leave Turner Field and didn’t make it through the fifth inning of
Thursday’s 6-0 loss to Atlanta.