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Starting pitcher Jason Marquis makes his Nats Park and season debut in a Nationals uniform Wednesday night against lefthander Cole Hamels and the Phillies.
Last year, Jason was 15-13 with a 4.04 ERA for the Colorado Rockies. He had an especially brilliant start to the season that garnered him an All-Star selection. Jason was 10-5 through June 30th last season with two complete games to help Colorado climb back in the race with the Dodgers.
Marquis has had six straight seasons with at least 11 wins, totaling 80 victories since 2004. He has been touched for one earned run or less in 11 of his 33 starts.
I caught up with him in the Nats clubhouse Monday as he prepared for the year.
Here is the audio version of the complete interview:
Audio: Byron Kerr talks with Jason Marquis about his expectations for 2010
Pretty good spring training in your first one with the Nats?
"It went well. Just like every other spring training, you are working on things to get prepared for game one. Other than the poor weather we had in Florida, it was pretty good. Looking forward to a fresh start and excited about this upcoming season."
How does this compare to the staffs you have been on?
"It is tough to compare teams. Each team takes on their own personality. But we do have talent in here. We have guys that are going to surprise a lot of people. We just have to pitch to our capabilities and not above. I think we will be alright."
Facing the Phillies, you have faced them many times before, what are you looking to do on Wednesday?
"Great lineup. Not many holes up and down the lineup. Stick to my game plan, pound the bottom of the strike zone. Try to get ground balls out of them and let my defense do the work."
Exciting moment for you with a brand new team to show you can still pitch in this league or you have nothing to prove?:
"I have nothing to prove. I don't have to prove anybody right or anybody wrong. I just have to go out and be Jason Marquis. I know what I am capable of. Just work hard. Like I said, I am just going to pound the bottom of the strike zone. Try to get ground balls out of them and let my defense do the work and hopefully that will lead to some winning ballgames."
What was the key to your quick start last year, was it a rhythm you got into?
"It is just a feel thing, making sure my delivery is where I want it to be so I am able to execute my pitches to the best of my ability. I've still got to compete, like always. It's a new season. You just try to build off last year, learn from your mistakes and try to remember that good feeling when things are going well."
Easier to get family and friends to D.C. for a chance to see you in person because it's just a train ride, versus out to Denver?
"Yes, we've got a lot of family here this weekend. It is a close enough trip for my parents and friends. My wife has to go back because my daughter has school so that kinda stinks. We will definitely have a few people throughout the season."