Arizona starting pitcher Jason Marquis suffered a fractured right fibula in this afternoon's game against the Mets. It looks like the injury was suffered initially when he took a line drive off the leg from the bat of Angel Pagan in the third inning, though Marquis stayed in the game at that point. He finished the frame, but left after facing three batters in the fourth: Marquis hit the last batter faced, going down immediately himself. Our pitcher did make it off the mound under his own steam, with some assistance, but further examination revealed the fracture.
One can only imagine, with only six and half weeks left in the regular season, that he won't be back. Who'll replace him the Diamondbacks rotation?
There are a couple of options in the bullpen, of course. Zach Duke has made nine starts for the Diamondbacks this season, and Micah Owings has four. Owings' numbers are significantly better: he has gone 3-0 with a 3.54 ERA, while Duke is 2-4, resulting from a 5.47 ERA. However, Owings has been incredibly good working in long relief out of the bullpen, posting an ERA barely above two, over 26.2 innings of work, so it might make more sense to keep him in that role, and if who ever starts gets in trouble, Micah can then be used for an extended outing. Duke has been good too (3.21 ERA), but in a smaller sample.
The other possibility is bringing someone up from the minors to make the start. There's certainly no shortage of pitching talent down in the minors. Wade Miley is probably the best that Triple-A has to over, having put up a 3.64 ERA for the Aces. That may not seem great, but this is Reno, where arms go to die - the team, as a whole, has a 5.92 ERA this year, so Miley is more than two runs better than that. Take him out of the thin air, and the number are even more impressive. In five road starts. Miley has worked a total of 35 innings, and has a 2.31 ERA, with a K: BB ratio of 40:11.
If you dip down to Mobile, Tyler Skaggs has the best numbers of our starters there. Since his promotion from A-ball, he has six starts and fanned 40 batters in 31.2 innings of work, with a 2.84 ERA. It might also be Jarrod Parker time: while his overall ERA of 4.10 is less impressive, most of the runs he allowed were piled up in the early part of the year, as he came back from Tommy John surgery. Since the start of July, in Parker's eight starts, he has worked 43.2 innings and has a 2.89 ERA, with 37 punch-outs.
However, as Jack Magruder pointed out, Arizona GM Kevin Towers "has said repeatedly he will not rush young arms, and when one is called up, he will be called up to stay in rotation." The latter part of that statement wouldn't necessarily be a problem, as it seems very unlikely Marquis will be able to provide anything significant for the rest of the 2011 campaign. But are the names mentioned ready for the majors, especially in the white-heat of a likely pennant race down the stretch? That's something I'm sure Towers, Kirk Gibson and pitching coach Charles Nagy will already be discussing with those in the farm system...
Another possibility is going into the market and picking up a replacement there. I just saw a list of those who have cleared waivers - interestingly, they include this afternoon's pitcher for the New York Mets, Chris Capuano. The others listed don't exactly seem like an exciting bunch, for the most part: Bruce Chen; Rodrigo Lopez; Jason Vargas; Chien-Ming Wang; Ted Lilly [I have the .gif ready though...]; Tom Gorzelanny; and, of course, Carlos Zambrano.