Despite his stellar outing on Tuesday, an eight-inning shutout performance at 12 strikeouts in a 1-0 win over Washington, Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez’s status for the remainder of the season still remains in doubt. Miami has scheduled Fernandez to pitch on Sunday versus the Braves, but could shut him down for the season if the team’s wild card hopes have been extinguished beforehand.
Fernandez has been on a 180-inning count this season and the team has been cautious to allow him to step over that barrier. The team’s playoff status makes this a slippery slope to say the least.
Manager Don Mattingly said on Wednesday as long as there is postseason hope, Fernandez will remain in the rotation. If they are either eliminated or on the brink of being eliminated by Sunday, then he could be shut down, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Should Fernandez make the start on Sunday, he could make one more start in the final series against Washington.
"I can tell you right now, if we're eliminated by the time that one might come up, he would not pitch," Mattingly said. "He would not pitch the last one, if that's the case. He might want to pitch, but he won't pitch."
Fernandez’s health has been a concern all season for the Marlins. Ironically, he has been the team’s most consistent starter all season. He had Tommy John surgery in 2014 and suffered a biceps strain in 2015. The team cut down his workload for the 2016 season. The move seems to have paid off.
Fernandez was selected by the Marlins in the first round of the 2011 MLB draft. Fernández made his MLB debut with the Marlins on April 7, 2013. He was named to the 2013 MLB All-Star Game and won the National League (NL) Rookie of the Month Award in July and August. After the season, he won the NL Rookie of the Year Award and finished third in Cy Young Award balloting.
Fernández is the first pitcher in the modern era to win his first 17 career home decisions, as well as go 24-1 in his first 25 home decisions.