There’s simply no guarantee that protecting a young pitcher’s arm is, well, going to protect a young pitcher’s arm. Exhibit A: The Washington Nationals and Stephen Strasburg. But making the attempt to spare excess wear on a valuable asset early in his career is the prudent thing to do, which is the tack the Marlins insist they’re going to take with 21-year-old rookie right-hander Jose Fernandez.
Remember how Dontrelle Willis used to slide head first and how upset it made his Marlins managers? After Jose Fernandez did the same thing Friday at Turner Field, manager Mike Redmond told the rookie pitcher not to do it again.
For a glimpse at the work ethic that has enabled Juan Pierre to thrive for 13 seasons in the big leagues, tune in to a debut of the next episode of "Inside the Marlins" on Fox Sports Florida following Monday’s game against the Cubs.
It’s not a new low. The Marlins’ offense has been this bad before in terms of total hits, but only during one other stretch. In Tuesday’s 2-1 loss at Washington, the Marlins amassed four hits. That makes six consecutive games with six or fewer. The Marlins went 19 seasons without such a stretch. They’ve now done it twice in as many seasons. Last April 20-27, the Marlins in losing six in a row to the Nationals (two), Mets (three) and Diamondbacks (one) put up four, six, three, six, six and three in the hit column. They went 28-for-186 (.151) with six total runs scored.
Jose Fernandez will not only get one more start in Marlins Park this season. He will likely get two. Manager Mike Redmond confirmed Saturday that the prized rookie’s next start will be delayed two days until the Marlins open a homestand Friday against the Washington Nationals. Related Video highlights: Braves 2, Marlins 1 Sunday: Marlins at Braves: 5:05 p.m. Live Game Tracker: Marlins at Braves Ads by Google Print Restaurant Coupons Free Printable Restaurant Coupons. Save on Entrees, Dessert & More! www.ShopAtHome.com/Restaurants K Cups Discount (70%) Off K Cups Online. Free Shipping. This Week Only! LocalXpress.com Fernandez is 12 innings short of the team-imposed limit of 170. Redmond said the next start will determine how Fernandez is used after that.
Marlins third baseman Placido Polano, reinstated from the seven-day concussion disabled list Tuesday, said he is grateful for baseball’s protocol for evaluating head injuries that didn’t exist earlier in his career. Polanco suffered what was diagnosed as a mild concussion when he was hit in the head by a pitch on Aug. 16. He said he felt dizzy following the incident and remained very tired for several days. He was examined several times before being cleared to play again, according to the policy adopted by Major League Baseball in 2011.
Manager Mike Redmond keeps tinkering with the lineup in search of a combustible combination that has eluded the Marlins most of the season. Through all of the recent permutations, and Friday brought another, young left fielder Christian Yelich has been a key component. Whether a fixture in the leadoff spot or a one-game experiment this week batting third, it is clear the Marlins are committed to and confident in the 21-year-old who has been rated as their top prospect among position players. "His at-bats have been consistent. He's held his own against some of the lefties, whether the stats say that or not. He's had good at-bats, maybe not always gotten hits," Redmond said this week. "He's stayed very consistent with his approach. He's drawn walks, and I feel very comfortable with him in the top part of the lineup."
The record came in a bittersweet first inning on Friday night for Jose Fernandez, but the big picture puts the achievement in perspective. With an 81-mph curveball, Fernandez struck out Chris Johnson swinging to establish a Marlins rookie strikeout record. The K, his second in the inning, gave Fernandez 167 on the season, breaking Scott Olsen's previous mark of 166 set in 2006. Fernandez turned in a solid performance on another frustrating night for the Marlins, who lost, 2-1, to the Braves at Turner Field.
With 66 1/3 innings under his belt, Ryan Webb ranks seventh among National League relievers in innings pitched. Still, the Marlins right-hander has found time to pursue a passion -- creating music. On Saturday afternoon, Webb used his @RyanWebb58 Twitter account to tweet a link to a four-minute, 12-second song that he put together.
In search of offensive help, the Marlins are hoping some arrives on Sunday afternoon. Miami is planning on calling up Chris Coghlan on the first day rosters can expand. The 28-year-old, who was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2009, has appeared in 51 games for Miami this year, batting .277 with a .326 on-base percentage. Along with Coghlan, the Marlins will recall right-hander Chris Hatcher and select the contract of lefty Zach Phillips from Triple-A New Orleans. To make 40-man roster room for Phillips, Kevin Slowey is being transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
At last, there is a more clear shutdown date for Jose Fernandez. The energized Marlins rookie will make two more starts, and they won't combine for more than 12 total innings. Barring a short outing, look for the 21-year-old to go six innings in each of those games, meaning his last start tentatively will be Sept. 11 at home against Atlanta.
Around The League
One month down, another big one to go before October, the month that's bigger than all the rest. And after August's final act on Saturday, it looks like we're in for some bigtime fun in September.
Ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte is still looking for a shot at the majors at the age of 28. With retooled mechanics, the Yankees prospect continues to present a significant matchup problem for any opposing manager in the late innings of a game.
The beginning of September offers baseball fans a prime opportunity to take a step back and evaluate the ongoing pennant races, and boy are there some appetizing ones this year.
At Fish Stripes
Brad Hand was dominant in 7+ innings in New Orleans, Andrew Heaney pitched his team to a win in Jacksonville, Jupiter scored 12 runs in their win over St. Lucie, Avery Romero and Austin Dean homered for Greensboro.
The Miami Marlins do not have a lot of prospects remaining in the minor leagues, but five of them are interesting enough to see September call-ups on the main roster.
After a poor outing, the Marlins optioned reliever Arquimedes Caminero to Triple-A and recalled righty Sam Dyson, who despite a large ERA and little bullpen experience will serve as a long reliever out of Miami's bullpen.
Chris Coghlan homered as part of a three-hit night in his rehab game for New Orleans, while Gulf Coast League baseball has concluded for the year.