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Marlins vs. Royals: Game 125 Thread

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Jose Fernandez takes the mound in an interleague battle with the Royals.

Rob Foldy/Getty Images

A good majority of August for the Marlins has not been too inspiring, going 4-8 before dropping a series with the Reds 3-1. The good news is that things are presently looking up. A huge series with fellow NL Wild Card contenders form Pittsburgh ended in a Marlins sweep last weekend.

With a rough 1-0 loss to the Royals last night, the Marlins are sending ace Jose Fernandez to the mound for his second start since being skipped in order to preserve his innings. He faces a scorching hot Royals team that has won nine straight, five of those games by three or more runs. They're throwing 30 year old righty Dillon Gee, who has been a spot starter throughout the year for the Royals. With a great outing last time on the mound versus the Twins, Gee garners his third start in a row.

Team Starter ERA FIP 2016 ZIPS Projected ERA
KC Dillon Gee 4.52 5.23 4.94
MIA Jose Fernandez 3.05 2.27 2.67

As most Marlins fans know, Fernandez has been beyond outstanding this season. He is currently second in the majors in both FIP and WAR, but sits atop the K/9 throne with 12.96 per nine, and a strikeout percentage above 35%, something relievers often struggle to match.

A testament to Fernandez's pure talent is the fact that his pitch usage numbers, velocity, and batted ball data have remained very stable compared to last year. On top of that, his strikeout and swinging miss numbers have noticeably trended in a positive direction.

At the Marlins Ballpark in Miami, Fernandez has been near untouchable.

A 2.07 ERA through 82.2 innings, with an opponent average of .202 and 119 strikeouts - ridiculous. His 9-2 record in those home games, and 12-7 record overall have been a welcomed sight for the Marlins as they haven't seen a starter win 14+ games in Ricky Nolasco in 2010.

Unfortunately for Fernandez, in the past month, there has been a trend downward in some of his peripherals. Particularly in his batting average against and swing and miss numbers. I'll leave you with a graph courtesy of Brooks Baseball that shows Fernandez's raw whiff counts on three categories of pitches he throws. Hopefully this is a minor sign of gradual fatigue that skipping starts will help correct as the Marlins push for the postseason.

Today's Lineups

KANSAS CITY ROYALS MIAMI MARLINS
Paulo Orlando - CF Dee Gordon - 2B
Christian Colon - 3B Martin Prado - 3B
Lorenzo Cain - RF Christian Yelich - LF
Eric Hosmer - 1B Marcell Ozuna - CF
Salvador Perez - C J.T. Realmuto - C
Alex Gordon - LF Ichiro Suzuki - RF
Alcides Escobar - SS Xavier Scruggs - 1B
Raul Mondesi - 2B Miguel Rojas - SS
Dillon Gee - RHP Jose Fernandez - RHP

Bold Prediction: Fernandez Dazzles, Marlins win 3-0