NL rookie of the year candidate Jose Fernandez hasn’t disappointed the home fans when he’s pitched at Marlins Park.
They could be seeing him for one of the final times there this season as the Miami Marlins try to avoid their fifth straight loss Saturday night against the Colorado Rockies.
The league-worst Marlins (48-79), who rank last in the majors in runs and batting average, could get little done at the plate in Friday’s 3-2 series-opening loss. Ryan Wheeler hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth inning as the Rockies (60-70) won for the second time in seven games.
While the Marlins have totaled seven runs and gone 2 for 26 with runners in scoring position during their losing streak, they likely won’t need much offense to end it with Fernandez (9-5, 2.41 ERA) on the mound.
The All-Star right-hander has gone 7-2 with 105 strikeouts over 93 1-3 innings since June 1. His 1.64 ERA over that 14-start stretch is second in the majors to Los Angeles’ Clayton Kershaw (1.62).
Fernandez looks to win his fifth straight decision after fanning eight and allowing one earned run over six innings in a 6-2 victory over the NL West-leading Dodgers on Monday.
“Fernandez set the tone,” manager Mike Redmond told the team’s official website. “He had to grind a little bit, but he’s had to do that his last couple of (starts).”
Fernandez leads all rookies with at least 15 starts in ERA, opponents’ batting average (.189) and strikeouts (157). He’s been particularly tough at Marlins Park, where he’s 6-0 with a 1.40 ERA in 12 starts.
Because Miami plans to limit Fernandez to around 170 innings, this might be one of his last home starts. He’s currently at 145 2-3 innings after throwing a season-high 109 pitches against the Dodgers.
“We set that deadline for a reason,” Redmond said. “It’s to take care of him and protect him. We realize this is a special kid who we want to keep healthy and have pitch for a long time.”
Fernandez hasn’t allowed a home run since Todd Helton took him deep in a 4-2 road win over the Rockies on July 23. He pitched seven innings in that game, giving up two runs and five hits with eight strikeouts.
DJ LeMahieu went 2 for 3 with a triple against Fernandez and he’s 7 for 19 during a six-game hitting streak overall.
Teammate Troy Tulowitzki is batting .421 in a 10-game hitting streak, though Wilin Rosario had his streak snapped at 13 in the opener.
The Rockies will attempt to win consecutive road games for the first time since June 22-23 by giving the ball to Jeff Manship (0-3, 7.80), who seeks his first victory since Sept. 6, 2010, with Minnesota.
After allowing two runs over five innings in a 2-1 loss at Citi Field on Aug. 8, Manship has given up 11 runs and 14 hits - four home runs - over 10 innings in his last two starts.
The right-hander yielded four runs in the fourth inning and ended up allowing five over five frames in a 5-4 loss at Philadelphia on Monday.