When reigning National League Rookie of The Year winner Jose Fernandez takes the mound for the Miami Marlins, excitement and confidence are expected. Over 34,000 were at Marlins Park for Fernandez's last home start, and a large crowd will likely see him pitch on Wednesday.
But Manager Mike Redmond is scared of what could happen between today and Wednesday. After giving up six runs in a loss to the Phillies on Friday night, Redmond said that it will be "torture" until Fernandez is on the mound again.
"For all of us these next four days are going to be torture because you know he can’t wait to get back out there," the Marlins manager said. "He’s going to be champing at the bit. And that’s good, that’s what you want."
Fernandez hadn’t completely removed his uniform late Friday after the Phillies’ 6-3 win and already he was looking ahead.
Fernandez's maturity is what has earned him respect throughout the league. He takes every start seriously, and a pitcher like that is necessary, even when the Marlins are not in playoff contention, as was the case at the end of last season.
In his outing against Philadelphia, Fernandez struggled to throw both his fastball and offspeed pitches for strikes. In addition to giving up the six runs, he walked four and struck out six. Fernandez works quickly and typically has command of most of his pitches, making the numerous walks that much more alarming.
Fernandez's struggles were notable, considering how effective he was in his first two starts of the season.
The Phillies were 5-for-5 against Fernandez with runners in scoring position. Over his last eight starts, opposing batters were 1-for-29 in such situations. Last season, Fernandez allowed just 15 hits (in 101 at bats) with runners in scoring position.
Fernandez entered with a steak of 13 games in which he had not allowed more than two runs or five hits in any game and he had held opponents to less than two runs in 15-of-30 career starts.
While it is too early to determine whether Fernandez will be as successful as he was in his rookie year, it is safe to assume he likely won't have many more outings similar to the one he had on Friday night. The offense was inconsistent on the roadtrip, but the success of the pitchers is dependent upon how much run support they get. Fernandez typically doesn't need more than three or four runs, but Friday's start was an exception.
On Wednesday, Fernandez will face the Nationals for the first time this season. Fernandez will have difficulty staying composed until then.