Second Thoughts Game #109: Indians 0, Marlins 10.
Fernandez pitches as advertised in rout of Tribe
I hope no one had any traumatic memories of the 1997 World Series dredged up on Friday night as the Indians saw their eight-game win streak come to a screeching halt against the now-Miami Marlins. Young phenom Jose Fernandez continued his stellar rookie campaign pitching eight shutout innings against the Tribe with a season and career-high 14 strikeouts.
As frustrating as the game was by itself, the Indians also fell back to three games behind Detroit and half a game out of the wild card spot due to Detroit and Baltimore also winning on Friday night. While it’s not the end of the world, let alone the season, it’s still a long way to fall after riding high during a long win streak. But that was due to happen eventually no matter how they lost. Can’t win them all and you might as well lose to a guy like Fernandez.
Don’t Forget Your Defense
During the last road trip, some began to wonder if the Indians had left their good gloves at home as they committed error after error in the Twin and Emerald Cities. Well, the Tribe didn’t appear to take their fielding talents to South Beach on Friday night as the defense, namely Asdrubal Cabrera, coughed up another couple errors leading to three unearned runs scoring in the first two innings.
It’s still perplexing that a once-All-Star caliber shortstop can continue to make the impossible plays look easy and butcher a number of the seemingly-routine plays. While turning that potential inning-ending double play wouldn’t had much of an impact the way Fernandez was pitching, you’d still like to see any fundamental play executed, especially since it could’ve meant a totally different start for Ubaldo Jimenez, who threw arguably double the amount of pitches he should have in the first inning due to that error.
Still, hindsight is 20/20 and there’s no telling how a game would or wouldn’t have gone if a play is made and seeing as how Fernandez likely would’ve dominated regardless, it probably wouldn’t have made a difference anyway.
Meet Jose Fernandez
Well since there wasn’t much to discuss on the Tribe side of things in this game, let’s talk about the dominant start by Jose Fernandez. Just in the last couple seasons, the NL East has brought forth several young pitching stars. Between Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals, Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler of the Mets, Julio Teheran of the Braves and now Jose Fernandez of the Marlins, the division has a bright future as far as pitching goes.
Watching him pitch on Friday night, I’m sure many Tribe fans can confirm that Fernandez is the real deal this season despite him pitching for a team that is normally offensively challenged. With his 95+ mph fastball, devastating breaking ball and pinpoint accurate pitch location, the Indians were no match against the right-hander, something that is not unfamiliar with his normal NL opponents.
The gem put together by Fernandez was complete with a season high and career high 14 strikeouts. The right-hander now has four starts with 10 or more strikeouts this season, marking the first time that feat has been accomplished by a National League rookie pitcher since Cole Hamels of the Phillies did so in 2006. Considering that Fernandez was pitching in A-ball a year ago and that he hadn’t thrown a single pitch in the AA or AAA levels, that is about as impressive as you can get.
Facts and Notes:
The Indians were retired 14 times via strikeout for the first time since Zach Greinke recorded 15 against the Featherheads in 2009.
The five runs given up by Ubaldo Jimenez marked the first time since July 6th that an Indians starter had given up five or more runs in a game, despite the fact that three were unearned.
Newly acquired left-hander Marc Rzepczynski made his Indians debut on Friday night and retired the side in order with two groundouts and a flyout in one inning of work.
Bryan Shaw pitched two innings of shutout ball in relief of Ubaldo Jimenez and struck out four batters. The last time he recorded four strikeouts in one appearance since April 16th against Boston.
Up Next: Indians vs. Marlins @ Marlins Park. First pitch at 7:05 ET.
Jose Fernandez was by far the toughest task for the Indians in this series, however it doesn’t get a whole lot easier as Miami will throw two more young arms at the Tribe that have also had solid seasons for the Fish. Jacob Turner will be the next rookie right-hander the Indians will have to figure out. Turner was acquired by the Marlins in the deal that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit and has a very respectable 2.65 ERA despite being only 3-3 on the year.
The Tribe will counter with a young right-hander of their own in Zach McAllister, who continues to make his recovery from a right finger sprain. McAllister appeared to shake off some of the rust from being on the disabled list for over a month in a seven-inning effort against Chicago allowing only two runs. He walked away with a no-decision that night, however and is still looking for his first win since his injury.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.
The Tribe has gone after Cuban defectors... Danys Baez and most recently Leandro Linares.
But they have not really been linked to other bigger names, that I am aware of. Possibly bc of the risk / price involved on some of these guys.
Tribe should start going after Cuban Defectors.