The Miami Marlins swore they would not allow rookie sensation Jose Fernandez to exceed 170 innings this season. Even though he is at a safe number right now, the Marlins want their starter to pitch deep into the month of September. At this point, what is Miami’s game plan for Fernandez for the rest of the season?
“We’re working on where we could push him back a few days, and see if we can extend him,” manager Mike Redmond said, according to Marlins.com. “We’re trying to figure out how we can extend him as deep into September as we can.
The reason the Marlins are considering pushing back some of the right-hander’s starts so that he can pitch in late September is because the organization wants him to experience pitching in intense situations. Obviously, every single time a pitcher takes the mound it is intense. However, there is nothing quite like facing teams fighting for their playoff lives down the stretch.
As of right now, Fernandez has tossed 145 2/3 innings this year. In 24 starts, he has averaged roughly six innings per contest. That means with 24 1/3 innings left until he reaches the 170 mark, he has about four starts left in him with over a month to go in the season. However, it could certainly be less than that considering he has tossed at least seven innings in three of his last five outings.
“This is not an easy decision. He’s pitched so well,” Redmond told Marlins.com. “I think we all hoped he would have this much success, but I don’t think any of us thought that he would pitch as deep into games as he has, which is great. Believe me, that is pressure on us that’s good pressure.”
There is always the possibility to go a little past 170 innings, but at what cost? The reason for a limit is to prevent wear and tear on the rookie. Considering the Marlins are currently 48-76 it would be rather pointless to extend his total innings.
The good news is this is a great problem to have as Fernandez has gone above and beyond expectations. There is no question Miami has an outstanding player who could certainly become something special in the near future.