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Fernandez wins top pitching performance in August

Jose Fernandez is scheduled to make one more start, on Wednesday at home against Atlanta, and the only decisions involving him after that will be left up to award voters.

In the meantime, the Marlins' right-hander and a top BBWAA National League Rookie of the Year candidate, has just received one honor from fans at, earning the August Pitching Performance of the Month presented by Head & Shoulders.

Fernandez received 42 percent of the vote for his 14-strikeout performance over eight innings on Aug. 2 against Cleveland. Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish, who won this award in April by virtue of a near-perfect game at Houston, finished a close second with 38 percent and was denied this time after yet another near-perfect game at Houston.

Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals and Matt Harvey of the Mets were nominated for a pair of four-hit shutouts, but the former finished a distant third with 13 percent of the ballot and the latter received 7 percent.

"He's a pretty young kid as far as starts in the Major Leagues," Indians manager Terry Francona said after Fernandez's award-winning outing, in which he allowed three hits and one walk. "We saw the stuff, and he put it together tonight for eight innings. Unfortunately for us, that's as good a start as I think we've seen all year. He had everything."

It was the only one of the four nominated performances that came against a bona fide postseason contender, and the Indians had won eight straight games before hitting this roadblock. Fernandez set a club rookie record with 14 strikeouts, and he was hitting 97 mph on the gun in the late innings, and even chipped in with an RBI in the 10-0 rout.

"I love to get a chance every five days and compete," Fernandez said. "I love to play for the team, play for the fans. The fans have just been incredible. That, to me, it helps. Whoever tells you it doesn't help, it helps."

Fernandez is 4 1/3 innings shy of the 170-inning the Marlins set for him before the season, so fans at Marlins Park will get a last chance to appreciate No. 16 on the mound -- against the NL East's runaway leaders. His only previous start against the Braves was a loss on Aug. 30 at Turner Field, despite allowing only three hits and two earned runs.

Manager Mike Redmond said Fernandez will be allowed to go as deep in the game as possible, depending on his performance.

Fernandez was among the runners up to Tim Lincecum for the July Pitching Performance of the Month award, after striking out 13 Pirates and walking none on July 28 in Miami. With that outing, he became the eighth pitcher since 1916 to have at least 13 strikeouts and no walks during his first 20 games.

This award is all about strikeout magic, part of the ongoing "Season of the #Whiff" campaign. In addition to voting for the monthly award, you can be part of the Season of the #Whiff campaign around the clock. See a whiff, tweet a #Whiff to @HSforMen . . . and you will have a chance to win cool prizes from your favorite team.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of Read and join other baseball fans on his community blog.

Miami Marlins, Jose Fernandez