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Hernandez stifles Phils in Marlins' comeback win

Right-hander allows 2 runs in 6 innings; Miami gets to Nola in 6th
@JoeFrisaro
August 25, 2019

MIAMI -- Concerns over a nagging blister turned out being overstated for Elieser Hernandez. Not only was the 24-year-old able to manage any potential finger issues, he also made quick work of the Phillies, allowing two runs in six innings on Sunday in the Marlins’ 3-2 comeback victory at Marlins

MIAMI -- Concerns over a nagging blister turned out being overstated for Elieser Hernandez.

Not only was the 24-year-old able to manage any potential finger issues, he also made quick work of the Phillies, allowing two runs in six innings on Sunday in the Marlins’ 3-2 comeback victory at Marlins Park.

Box score

Miami took two of three in the series, and Hernandez's six innings matched his career high, done three times this season, including twice in August.

“It's been good to watch,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We took this guy in the Rule 5 [Draft] last year. He's worked out of the bullpen a lot. I guess we've kind of figured out, this guy is a lot better as a starter than he's been as a reliever.”

Formerly in the Astros’ system, Hernandez has found a spot in Miami’s rotation. In 11 starts, he has a 4.37 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings. In 7 2/3 innings of relief, his ERA is 9.39.

Efficient and effective, Hernandez made it through five innings on 55 pitches, allowing just one hit. In the sixth, he was victimized by a two-out, two-run homer to Rhys Hoskins, and threw 27 pitches in the frame, with 19 after two were out.

Miami responded with three off Aaron Nola in the sixth, as Jon Berti had an RBI single, followed by Starlin Castro’s two-run go-ahead double. Berti, who has elite speed, raced from first to home without a play for the decisive run.

Per Statcast, Berti’s sprint speed was 29.4 feet per second, and he made it from first to home in 10.97 seconds.

Hernandez worked well with catcher Bryan Holaday.

“First of all, I'm very competitive,” Hernandez said through an interpreter. “Every time I go out there, I'm trying to compete. Even if I don't have all my tools. Today, I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates, especially Holaday. He did a great job out there, and we worked together.”

Ryne Stanek worked around a one-out walk in the ninth, and logged his first MLB save. Miami acquired the right-hander from the Rays as part of the Trevor Richards and Nick Anderson trade. He was unable to convert his first two save chances.

“It was really cool,” said Stanek, who was doused by his teammates with mustard, ketchup and other condiments from the dining room. “I'm glad they stuck with me and gave me a chance. I know the last two chances I had didn't really go quite as planned, which was frustrating. But it was just good to go out there and get the job done and get the win.”

So much of what the Marlins are building organizationally centers around starting pitching. In the first half, it was the strength of the team, with the rotation combining for a 4.28 ERA, which ranked seventh in the National League and 13th in the Majors.

It’s been a different story in August. The staff’s ERA has ballooned to 6.28, which is 28th in the Majors, ahead of the Angels (6.46) and Orioles (6.99).

The rotation also needed a boost after Hector Noesi went three innings on Friday and Jordan Yamamato lasted just 3 2/3 innings on Saturday.

Hernandez has dealt with the blister to his right middle finger for a couple of weeks. He has been managing it with treatment and skipping between-starts bullpen sessions.

It became an issue in his last start, on Tuesday at Atlanta, when he was lifted after four innings and 68 pitches in a no-decision.

“In the fourth inning, I started feeling the blister again,” Hernandez said. “But I was just working hard, trying to be out there as long as I could.”

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.