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Updated: May 15th, 2012 4:21pm
Ron Gardenhire wants struggling Jason Marquis to pick up the pace

Ron Gardenhire wants struggling Jason Marquis to pick up the pace

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Jason Marquis said it himself after his latest shellacking on Tuesday.

"Obviously I'm not throwing the ball the way I want," he said. "It's getting embarrassing. Obviously I've got to make a change and do something different to get better results."

With his latest clunker -- five runs in five innings against the Indians, including throwing 95 pitches and allowing three home runs -- Marquis has now thrown at least 80 pitches in all six outings this season without lasting longer than 6 1/3 innings.

Marquis is averaging 17 pitches per inning. At that rate it would take him 102 pitches to get through six innings.

After Tuesday's game manager Gardenhire recommended that Marquis pick up the pace between pitches. There were several times throughout the game when Marquis was taking 25 and 30 seconds between pitches, mostly with runners on base. 

His opponent, Derek Lowe -- also a sinker-baller -- threw most of his pitches within 12-16 seconds of one another.

"It's a possibility," Marquis said about picking up the pace. "We'll go back and watch some film when we get to Detroit and maybe compare it to where I was in the past. I'll sit down and talk with Gardy and Andy and take suggestions. I'm open to anything to get it right."

Boston's Clay Buchholz currently ranks as the slowest-paced pitcher in the majors, averaging 26 seconds between pitches. Mark Buehrle, Roy Halladay and Derek Lowe are the quickest-working pitchers this season at 17 seconds between throws.

Marquis' average over the last three years is about 23 seconds between pitches.

Marquis signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract this offseason, and the Twins were hoping he could eat large chunks of innings while throwing the ball over the plate regularly.

But Marquis has walked 11 batters over his last 15 innings, and heading into Tuesday he had thrown only 35% of his pitches in the strike zone.

Some of that could be Marquis attempting to lure hitters into chasing pitches down in the zone. Some of it is him just missing.

Marquis, owner of a 6.68 ERA (4.83 xFIP), is scheduled to pitch next in Milwaukee on Sunday.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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In this story: Jason Marquis