Coming off a high-performing, National League Rookie of the Year winning 2013, Miami Marlins fire ball right-handed pitcher Jose Fernandez needed to start the season strong just to make sure everyone knows his rookie year was not a fluke. Getting the ball on Opening Day in front of his grandmother who has not seen him pitching since he was 14 years old, Fernandez answered the call mightily and gave Miami just what they needed to succeed on the first day of the baseball season.
Fernandez only lasted six innings, but his strikeout total is what caught the eyes of everyone in the ballpark. He struck out nine Colorado Rockies on 94 pitches (73 strikes). His strikeout mark ties an Opening Day franchise record set by Josh Beckett in 2002 against the Montreal Expos. Fernandez also got enough run support for the victory.
The tone was set by Fernandez throughout the entire game. His fastball was continuously in the 95-97 mph range as he challenged all of the Rockies’ top hitters and made only one mistake to Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who smacked a home run to right center field.
The performance of Fernandez on Monday night was just what the Marlins need. He brought an energy to the ballpark that only comes once every five days. It is a good start for the Marlins, who only won 62 games last season. Miami needed a win to start the season off strong, and thanks to Fernandez, the Marlins did just that.