Marquis confident as he makes season debut tonight against Fish

Nationals right-hander Jason Marquis won his last start at Sun Life Stadium on Aug. 30, 2010, but he has a 7.07 career ERA in South Florida. Marquis hopes to repeat the most recent past as he takes the mound in his season debut tonight against the Florida Marlins.

Marquis was very disappointed at the start he had to the 2010 season, and was determined in the offseason to put in the work necessary to come in ready to go in camp. Last season was Marquis' first losing campaign since 2006, going 2-9 with a 6.60 ERA in 13 starts. His 13 starts was also the lowest of his career since 2000.

In the final month of the 2010 season, however, he went 2-2, allowing one or two earned runs in four of his final five starts.

Jim Riggleman hopes that Jason Marquis will bring his solid spring into the regular season

Tigers starter Justin Verlander talked during a recent game how he treated spring training like he was getting ready for a regular season game. You get the sense that Marquis went along the same track this spring.

One of his better outings was a start against the Detroit Tigers on March 14. The right-hander went five innings, and allowed just one run on three hits, with two walks and four strikeouts.

Nats third baseman Ryan Zimmerman says he could see the difference in the way Marquis pitched in the spring compared to last season.

"He is healthy," Zimmerman said. "I think that is the biggest thing for any player, especially a pitcher. When you are healthy, you throw the ball better. He is a little bit more confident (now) that he has his stuff back. We are looking forward to watching him pitch."

The Marlins counter with Anibal Sanchez in the first of three meetings in Florida. Friday, the Nationals begin a series in New York against the Mets. New York took two of three games in Florida last weekend.

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