Jason Marquis has his sinker and slider working effectively today, and it's showing in his strikeout total. Through three innings, the right-hander has fanned five. Three of the other four outs have come on grounders. In fact, the Marlins have yet to put a ball into the outfield.
When Marquis is on, his sinker and slider are a great 1-2 combination. The former gets pounded into the ground as his infielders go to work. The latter can function as an out pitch, darting through the strike zone as hitters swing and miss. At very least, he's keeping the Marlins guessing, usually incorrectly.
Since Marquis rarely breaks 90 mph, it's critical that he mix speeds and moves the ball in and out, up and down in the strike zone. This is what gets hitters guessing, and once a pitcher is inside a hitter's head, it only makes his arsenal more effective.
Three innings. Thirty-seven pitches, 27 for strikes. I hope the young Nationals pitchers are watching carefully. They could learn something about how a heady veteran balances efficiency and effectiveness.