Jose Fernandez will make one more start in 2013, and that start will come tonight versus the Atlanta Braves. The Miami Marlins are ready to shut down the rookie sensation after he reaches around 170 innings, and the team wisely chose to schedule the final start in the comfortable home setting in Marlins Park. Fernandez will have 30 friends and relatives over at the game, and you can bet that Marlins fans who are passionate about the team will show up to the franchise's final 2013 showcase of its biggest and brightest talent.
The Fish will play the Braves at 7:10 pm tonight, but that does not mean you should not get prepared for tonight's game way ahead of time. It's time to get officially ready with your Fish Stripes Final Jose Fernandez Start Primer, so you can get your full enjoyment of tonight's last spectacle of the year.
Step 1: Prepare the snacks.
Get yourself prepped a few hours in advance with your favorite hand snacks and age-appropriate drink of choice. I'll probably purchase a Diet Mountain Dew just for the game despite the fact that I am plenty stocked up on soda and water already. This evening's events warrant the extra good stuff, so buy your very best for the best in the game tonight.
Step 2: Devise clever drinking game.
If you have nothing better to do the following Thursday morning, perhaps it is time for a drinking game for your age-appropriate beverage. Depending on what you're imbibing, you might end up bloated or stuporous by the end of it, but that ridiculous feeling is the point when we engage in drinking games! So here are some ideas for when to take a swig:
Drink on every strikeout: This might be a little too reasonable, depending on how much you are taking in every time Fernandez whiffs a Brave. Remember, the Braves already lead the National League and are second overall in baseball in strikeouts, so combine that with Fernandez's skills and you might feel dizzy (with glee at his performance!) fast.
Drink on every swinging strike: These numbers are not all that different, but if they do differ, they tend to lean higher, so if you think you can handle more, more power to you!
BONUS - Drink thrice on each DefeKtor strikeout plus on each swinging strike: If you're like me, you probably adore the Defector nickname for Fernandez and his curveball, so every time he whiffs someone on the DefeKtor, you should probably celebrate harder!
BONUS - Drink every time the broadcast team mentions a Fernandez nickname: We here at Fish Stripes actually love all Fernandez nicknames, and Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton do to. Between "The Kid," "Kid K," "the Defector," and others, you might have plenty of opportunities to take a swig!
Drink on every called or swinging strike: Highly not recommended, unless you want to get some serious poisoning.
Step 3: Join the Fish Stripes Game Thread
If there is ever a time to get into the Marlins with your friends, now is the time to do it! Fish Stripes loves Jose Fernandez, and we can all share in that love with a fantastic night on the Internets together! Let's all share in Jose Fernandez's awesomeness: join Fish Stripes and start conversing today!
Jose Fernandez Start!
Jose Fernandez is starting tonight against the Braves! What should we look out for?
The Matchup: MIke Minor has been better this season, so the Fish may not be scoring much for Fernandez tonight. Then again, what else is new in 2013? However, in Minor's last start against Miami, he did give up two homers and four runs in six innings, so not all hope is lost for tonight.
The Lineup: The good news is that the Marlins had Giancarlo Stanton rejoin the lineup last night, but that does not necessarily mean the team will do well. We do also have one exciting young player in Christian Yelich also in the lineup, but the firepower well runs pretty dry after that. With Mike Minor on the mound, it might be difficult to spot Fernandez some run support.
The Fastball: Fernandez boasts an impressive fastball in the mid-to-high 90's on average, and that heat has been extremely effective; among qualified Major League starters this season, Fernandez's fastball is the 11th most effective fastball in the game, right behind Homer Bailey's. Of course, these pitch value stats are all about how the pitch is used and not necessarily the pitch's actual factors; Bronson Arroyo's fastball ranks eighth. Still, number 11!
The Defector: The Defector, on the other hand, is simply one of the most dominant pitches in the game. Fernandez's curveball is the second-most valuable curve in the game this season by rate, behind only Clayton Kershaw. That should get the Braves' hitters' heads spinning. The sight of Dan Uggla potentially swinging through a nasty Defector is a wonderful thing.
The Win: Usually, we here at Fish Stripes do not condone pitcher wins, as they are a poor representation of value. But it seems pitchers still care about the ol' "W," and since it is Fernandez's last 2013 start, I'll be watching to see if the Marlins can provide just enough runs to allow Fernandez to get a pitcher win tonight!
The Depth: How deep is Fernandez going to be pitching tonight? We found out that there are no limits on his game this evening, and last time he was allowed to go a fair amount until he lost his no-hitter bid. If Fernandez blanks the Braves for five innings tonight, how much longer do you think Miami will send him out?
The Cheerleader: No Fernandez start that ends up with a small lead for the Fish is complete without a dugout view of Fernandez cheering wildly. The kid has an infectious smile and a wonderful demeanor, two things you definitely want in a clubhouse going through a rough year.
We should certainly see more of this:
The Marlins won (maybe)! Jose Fernandez with a win (maybe)! You're as excited as he was in the above GIF. What do you now?
Step 1: More age-appropriate drinks!
That seems obvious.
Step 2: Stick around for a post-game moratorium on Jose Fernandez's start
I'll be posting it here after the game, so let's discuss his start and his season right here afterward!
Step 3: Think about four more years of this guy.
Let's be a little more realistic, let's not get carried away just yet. Imagine four more years of his performances. Wouldn't that be something?
There you have it, your complete guide to enjoying tonight's game between Jose Fernandez and the Atlanta Braves. Stay tuned here at Fish Stripes for coverage of the game, including a post-game recap and discussion of Fernandez's final start!