Any glimmer of hope of making the playoffs that the Washington Nationals had left tonight are gone after Miami Marlins‘ rookie pitcher Jose Fernandez tossed seven very strong innings en route to a Marlins 6-0 win.
Friday night was the second time that Fernandez faced the Nationals. On July 23, Fernandez pitched six innings and gave up four hits, one earned and struck out four. The Marlins took that contest 2-1. Friday night, Fernandez struck out nine Nationals while giving up just one hit over seven innings. It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Nats had even a base runner when Zach Walters knocked a pinch-hit infield single.
On the night, the Marlins pitching staff gave up just two hits, both infield singles with one bouncing off the pitcher, and allowed just four total base runners with Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche drawing walks. LaRoche was the only National to reach base twice.
While many Miami fans have criticized the club for the way they unloaded some of their best talent, they have to be excited by the future ace they have in Fernandez. Twice this season has he won Rookie of the Month and if it weren’t for his innings limit, which will likely sit him after his next start or even this one, he could likely win the award for a third time.
On the season, Fernandez is now 11-6 with a 2.23 ERA, a WHIP of .97 and 182 strike outs. He’s been good for six to seven innings each time he takes the mound and always puts together a piece of work that gives his club a chance to win the game.
For the Nationals, it was another step in the wrong direction. This was a game in which they badly needed a win. With the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks still left on their schedule, they need to win the games against the “easy” teams if they want to make the playoffs. Unfortunately, the playoffs seem all the more distant after Friday’s loss.
If you have not yet made yourself acquainted with Jose Fernandez, I suggest you do so. After the way he’s pitched this season, he’s certainly established himself on the Cy Young watch list for next season.