Jose Fernandez pitched an absolute gem through eight innings of work, Giancarlo Stanton chipped in with everything the Marlins would need (a solo homerun in the sixth) and David Phelps successfully spelled A.J. Ramos in the ninth inning for his fourth save as the Marlins picked up the 1-0 victory and the series win against the Nationals.
I could probably just stop there because there’s not much more to describe in a slim victory such as this, but let’s marvel at José for a second here. With his 12 K’s through eight innings tonight, he has compiled 253 on the season, incredible considering that he is being limited by innings and pitch count. In fact, tonight was the first start he’d been allowed to go through eight all season long. He has struck out fewer than six batters only twice on the year. His 12.44 K/9 rate led baseball coming into this game, he had the second best FIP at 2.39 (behind Noah Syndergaard) coming in and the best xFIP at 2.61 in, again, all of baseball. The 5.7 fWAR he’d put up prior to tonight’s game is a career high for him and second in the NL amongst starting pitchers (coming up just shy to Thor’s 6.1 fWAR).
I think it’s fair to hold Fernàndez’s innings pitched against him, but hopefully he can comfort himself with the knowledge that those exterior limitations are literally the only thing holding him back from being a Cy Young front runner.
Giancarlo Stanton hit another homerun, his second in as many days. It wasn’t the majestic thing of beauty that many of his homeruns are, but it was enough to get the job done tonight.
Tanner Roark was the tough luck loser here, pitching seven strong, striking out five, giving up a mere three hits, three walks and one very important bomb. Shawn Kelley pitched a clean inning in relief of Roark, and David Phelps picks up the save in the ninth, spelling Ramos.
If you feel like scoreboard watching tonight, well, you aren’t the only one. The Mets are trailing the Braves as this goes to publication, 5-1 in the eighth. The Cardinals are beating the Rockies early on, 3-1 in the 4th, and the Giants and Dodgers are just getting under way.
Max Scherzer vs. Tom Koehler in the suddenly more interesting finale tomorrow, 7:10 PM eastern start time.
Hero: José Fernàndez (.556)
Flounder: Danny Espinosa (-.219)
Play of the game: Stanton smash in the sixth (.197)