You know you're in trouble when the home plate umpire is giving you pitching tips.
After allowing two runs over six innings of work against the Seattle Mariners back on May 5th, Minnesota Twins veteran hurler Jason Marquis had his ERA down to 5.40. Not a great figure by any stretch of the imagination, but at least it represented a low point for Marquis on the young season.
Since then, things have gone from bad to worse to "Dear Lord, somebody make it stop!"
That last sentiment pretty well sums up Marquis' start against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, which was not one for the books. The offensively-challenged Brewers lit up Marquis, who lasted fewer than two innings for the first time since last July.
Corey Hart led off for Milwaukee in the bottom of the first, and he set the tone for the day with a long home run off of Marquis to left field. MLB.com has the moving-pictures highlight, which I recommend watching if you're a fan of long home runs and/or the Brewers (you can skip it if you're a Twins fan).
Marquis ended up serving up another home run to Jonathan Lucroy before the inning was over, putting the Twins in a 2-0 deficit heading into the second.
Things would get worse. A lot worse.
The Twins went down in order against Zack Greinke in the top of the second, so Marquis took to the mound looking to respond in kind with a shutdown inning of his own. He was able to get two quick outs (one on a batter's interference) after a single by Travis Ishikawa to lead off the inning, but that's when the wheels completely fell off.
With Ishikawa on first with two outs, here's the CliffNotes version of what happened next: single by Greinke, infield single by Hart, walk to Nyjer Morgan, double by Ryan Braun, single by Lucroy, Taylor Green hit by pitch, single by Ishikawa.
In the process of all of that, six runs scored. Marquis was lifted after Ishikawa's single, his second of the inning.
Marquis' final line score features some pretty ugly numbers: 1.2 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 48 P, 26 S.
Will Jason Marquis still be in the Twins' starting rotation on June 1?
He entered the game with a 6.68 ERA. It rose nearly two full runs to 8.47. His WHIP for the season is now 1.94. He's lost all four of his May starts.
So it goes for Marquis. I well remember the days when he was a serviceable starting pitcher capable of winning double-digit games every season, but those days have long since passed. The Twins were asking for trouble when they signed him up this past offseason, and they were asking for even more trouble when they inserted him into their rotation in April.
The Twins didn't have much of a choice at the time, of course, and that's the problem. If Marquis is the best they can do...yeesh. It's no wonder they have the worst pitching in the league.
At the rate Marquis is going, it won't be long before the Twins decide to pursue other options. For the time being, I am going to memorialize his epic stinker on Sunday by bestowing the American League "Worst of the Night" award on him.
Here's hoping I don't have to give it to him again at any point down the road. After all, I still have a soft spot in my heart for Marquis for what he did for my fantasy team in 2004.
My guess is that more than a few of you out there feel the same way about him.
If you ever want to nominate somebody for American League "Worst of the Night" honors, hit me up on Twitter.