Phillies, Like Everyone Else, Were Dominated by Jose Fernandez
By Matt Veasey
The Philadelphia Phillies were dominated by the late, great Miami Marlins starting pitcher, just like every other team.
We are going to remember Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez forever. He is going to remain young in those memories forever.
That is one of the elements when such a tragically devastating loss happens involving a young person. They are frozen in time in their youth.
Fernandez left behind much more than that youthful image. He is leaving behind a team and a fan base, in fact the entire baseball world, in shocked mourning.
He is also leaving behind a baby to be born in the coming months, one who will never know his or her father, other than through pictures and videos. There will be many of those for the child to view as he or she grows up.
As this is a Philadelphia Phillies fan site, I wanted to just take a few minutes to examine the dominance that Fernandez displayed against his division rivals to the north, as a snap shot of the way he dominated lineups across the entire baseball world.
Fernandez went 38-17 over 76 starts in parts of just four seasons in Major League Baseball.
Fernandez allowed 357 hits across 471.1 innings, with a 2.58 career ERA, a 1.054 WHIP, a 150 ERA+ mark, a 2.43 FIP, and a phenomenal 589/140 K:BB ratio.
The native of Cuba who came to the United States in 2008 and finally became a U.S. citizen in May of 2015 was the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year.
He finished 3rd in the NL Cy Young voting for that 2013 season, and Fernandez was an NL All-Star in both 2013 and again this season.
Thanks largely to missing most of the 2014 and 2015 seasons due to Tommy John surgery, the 24-year old Fernandez made only a half-dozen starts against the NL East Division-rival Phillies.
In those six starts against the Phils, Fernandez went 1-1 with a 2.88 ERA and 1.019 WHIP. He allowed 24 hits in just 34.1 innings pitched against the Fightins, with a typically strong 42/11 K:BB ratio.
Despite the injury and surgery, Fernandez was able to make at least one start in each of his four seasons against the Phillies.
In 2013, he was particularly dominant, going 1-0 with a 0.50 ERA over three starts with a 16/4 K:BB ratio.
His second career start came on April 13th, 2013 at Marlins Park against the Phils. He paced the Fish to a 2-1 victory that night, allowing just two hits over six shutout frames.
Less than a month later, on May 4th, 2013 at Citizens Bank Park, Fernandez earned the very first win of his big league career.
On that night, Fernandez was thoroughly dominating, and he needed to be, facing Phillies ace Cole Hamels, who was strong himself.
Fernandez allowed just one hit, a one-out single in the bottom of the 1st inning to Freddy Galvis, and shut the Phils out over seven innings while striking out nine and walking just one batter.
Hamels allowed just four hits over eight innings, striking out six and walking no one. But the Marlins bullpen combo of Mike Dunn and Steve Cishek kept the Phillies off the board, earning Fernandez that first career victory.
A little more than two weeks later, Fernandez was again strong, holding the Phils to just one run on five hits.
But trailing 1-0, he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 5th. The Phillies would get to the Marlins bullpen, pulling away to a 7-3 win in Miami.
Amazingly, after facing the Phillies three times over the season’s first seven weeks, that would be the final time that he would face the team in the 2013 season.
His turn in the rotation just never matched up with Phillies and Marlins matchups over the ensuing four months that summer.
On April 11th in the 2014 season, the Phillies jumped on Fernandez for six earned runs on eight hits, driving Fernandez from the game after just four innings. He struck out six, but also walked four batters that day.
That game was the only bad one for Fernandez until his start on May 9th against the San Diego Padres. On that day, at just 21 years of age, he would make his final start, succumbing to the TJ surgery.
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Fernandez finally returned to the mound in early July of the 2015 season, and would make just one start against the Phillies last year, on July 17th.
He was strong on that night at Citizens Bank Park, allowing the Phils just two earned runs and four hits across six innings, striking out six and walking one.
But Adam Morgan also was strong that night, and again the Phillies jumped the Fish bullpen, scoring four times in the bottom of the 8th inning to pull away to a 6-3 win.
This season, Fernandez once again made just a single start against the Phillies.
On July 18th at Citizens Bank Park, the righty put his full dominance on display, striking out 14 batters in leading the Marlins to a 3-2 victory.
There are no words to describe the magnitude of his loss to the game of baseball. Competitively, it is a devastating blow to a divisional rival, one that significantly shortens the distance between the 3rd place Marlins and the rebuilding 4th place Phillies.
But I am sure that all Phillies fans join me in feeling that we would rather have him back out there on the mound for Miami. We would much rather beat him than lose him this way.
Jose Fernandez was a great, great pitcher in Major League Baseball. He was a tremendous obstacle within the division for the Fightin’ Phils. And now, at far, far too young an age, Jose Fernandez is gone.
May he rest in peace, and may his family and close friends, especially that young child-to-be, receive comfort and love during this most difficult time of sudden, devastating loss.