With each searching for an NL-best 10th victory, Billingsley and Marquis will also try to bounce back from disappointing efforts as they square off Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium as their clubs continue a three-game series.
Billingsley (9-3, 3.10 ERA), who turns 25 near the end of July, posted career bests for wins (16) and ERA (3.14) last season, and the 24th overall pick in the 2003 draft is 44-22 in his four major league seasons.
The 30-year-old Marquis (9-5, 4.22), meanwhile, was 23-18 in his two years with the Chicago Cubs, who traded him to Colorado for Luis Vizcaino(notes) on Jan. 6. He was also 50-48 in the four seasons after winning a career-high 15 games for St. Louis in 2004, but left off his teams’ postseason rosters in 2006 and 2007.
Despite their differing past results, the two are tied with San Francisco’s Matt Cain(notes) and the New York Mets’ Johan Santana(notes) for the NL wins lead. Santana is scheduled to pitch Tuesday night in Milwaukee, and Cain is slated to throw Wednesday night in St. Louis.
Billingsley has failed in his previous two attempts to win his 10th despite being given at least a three-run lead in each outing. The right-hander blew a four-run advantage Thursday against the host Chicago White Sox and gave up a season-high five earned runs over six innings before the Dodgers (49-28) lost 6-5 in 13 innings.
“Four-to-nothing lead, he takes it to the bank,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “And that’s the second time this trip, so it’s a surprise. I’m not concerned. It’s just a surprise that it happened because we rely on him so much and he’s been our main guy.”
Billingsley has won consecutive starts against the Rockies, including a 9-5 victory April 18 at home, after going 0-2 with a 5.76 ERA in his first seven appearances.
Marquis, though, is 4-0 with a 2.17 ERA in seven starts against the Dodgers since 2004, including a 10-4 win April 26 in Denver.
The right-hander has posted a 1.89 ERA in his nine wins and lone no-decision, but when he’s lost, he has done so in miserable fashion with an 11.63 ERA in those five outings.
Wednesday night’s 11-3 defeat to the host Los Angeles Angels was one of those games as he allowed eight runs over 3 1-3 innings—his shortest outing this season. He is 0-5 when giving up four or more runs.
“I couldn’t command my pitches, couldn’t make the adjustment,” Marquis said. “I put my team behind the 8-ball.”
Los Angeles, which has won nine of 10 against Colorado, will try to become the first team to reach 50 wins.
The Rockies (40-36), who suffered just their fourth loss in 24 games, are trying again for a club-record 21st victory this month. They also had 20 wins in September 2007 en route to their only NL pennant.