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Games of the Decade: August 2, 2013

This domination of the Indians belongs on the short list of best games that José Fernández ever pitched.

Cleveland Indians v Miami Marlins Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images

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The “Games of the Decade” series is a collaborative process between the Fish Stripes staff and audience. Please continue recommending games that deserve to be rewatched!

Indians 0, Marlins 10—August 2, 2013

Starting Lineups

José Fernández became an NL All-Star, the leader of the Marlins starting rotation and one of the most marketable MLB players, all before turning 21. This would be his first outing since that milestone birthday, and arguably his greatest challenge yet.

The Indians came into town hot, winners of eight straight games. Facing off against veteran right-hander Ubaldo Jiménez, José wouldn’t be able to count on having a comfortable lead—Jiménez had gone eight scoreless innings the previous week. And despite his natural magnetism, it’s difficult to motivate locals to show up for an interleague matchup, especially when the Fish already declared themselves non-contenders (NL-worst 42-65 record).

Helped by an Asdrúbal Cabrera error and a Logan Morrison double that just barely stayed fair, the Marlins leapt out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. They tacked on additional runs in the second and third to make it 5-0. Grinding out lots of quality plate appearances against Jiménez, Miami had 11 baserunners through four innings to send him to the showers early.

Meanwhile, Fernández dominated. He struck out at least one Indians opponent in each of his eight frames. The fastball sat between 95-98 miles per hour all night. The low-80s curveball broke in such way that made it impossible to square up. He had everything working en route to setting new single-game career highs for innings pitched, strikeouts and total pitches.

Even at 5-0, this had the feel of a blowout, but a five-run rally in the bottom of the eighth put the game completely out of reach. Right-hander Steve Ames (who??!?!) handled the ninth with ease.

Click for full FOX Sports Florida game broadcast (with Rich Waltz, Tommy Hutton and Craig Minervini)

TL;DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch)

Win Probability Chart
  • Here’s a montage of all 14 Fernández strikeouts. Thirteen of them were swinging strikeouts, which is an all-time Marlins franchise record.
  • This was the only time during the 2013 season that the Fish scored 10-plus runs without the benefit of a homer.
  • That Steve Ames guy pitched four total innings in the majors that season and never made it back.
  • Before he was a brilliant Marlins media member, Daniel Álvarez Montes was a Venezuelan tourist attending this game. Let him explain:

We came to Miami for a vacation trip in 2013. My parents told me that I had to chose only one game to go during that week. I told them that we had to go to 2 games because I wanted to see Henderson [Álvarez] and José. Henderson pitched on July 31 (Jose’s BDay) and JDF16 was supposed to pitch on August 2. We went to both games but the only condition was to leave Friday’s game after José finished his performance. I agreed with my parents after a long discussion.

We said, “OK, he’s gonna pitch like 6 or 7 innings. As soon as he comes out we’re gonna leave to pack our stuff.”

We were flying back to Venezuela the day after, but I convinced them to go and watch him pitch. I knew we were going to see something special.

After his 5th SO, my dad was already fascinated with the kid and he didn’t want leave. I remember him telling me, “wow, you picked a great game to watch.” Obviously we stayed for the whole game and we got to see the [fireworks].

It was amazing and one of the happiest days of my life.


The “Games of the Decade” series is also available as a YouTube playlist (games listed there in chronological order)