Fernandez finds way in favorite place to play
Despite season-high four walks, ace allows one run, improves to 15-0 with 1.19 ERA at home
MIAMI -- Streaks may come and go for most players, but there has been one constant for Jose Fernandez since he broke into the Majors as a hard-throwing right-hander at age 20 in 2013.
At Marlins Park, Miami's young ace remains undefeated. Fernandez, without his electric stuff on Tuesday night, simply found a way in a 4-1 win over the Nationals.
With the victory, Fernandez improved to 15-0 at Marlins Park, and his ERA is an astounding 1.19 in 151 2/3 innings. In 23 starts, he's allowed just 20 earned runs.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since 1900, Fernandez is now one win shy of matching the most consecutive victories to start a career at home. Johnny Allen (1932-33) and LaMarr Hoyt (198-82) each strung together 16 wins.
"Again, his record speaks for itself, what he's been able to do here," Miami manager Dan Jennings said. "I think it's remarkable. But he's such a competitor. Wherever he takes the ball, you know he's going to give you an opportunity and leave everything out on the field. He did that tonight."
It was far from an easy assignment. Fernandez, who turns 23 on Friday, was matched against Jordan Zimmermann, and Miami was aiming to snap a three-game losing streak.
Fernandez gave up a run in the second inning, and had the bases loaded in the fifth with one out. But he used a 1-1 changeup that got Jayson Werth to tap into an 5-4-3 double play.
In six innings, Fernandez struck out five, and he walked a season-high four, which matched a career most. He had just three walks in 26 innings entering the night.
"It's the first time in a long time that we haven't seen him with the plus-command he always features," Jennings said. "That being said, he found a way to get us through those six innings and give us that opportunity."
Yet, even with a lack of pinpoint command, and laboring for 99 pitches, Fernandez was able to rekindle his home park magic.
How does Fernandez explain his success at Marlins Park?
"I don't," he said. "It's all about my teammates. This is the other 24 guys' win today. They went out there to battle. That's what we're trying to do all the time. I have so much respect for all of them. It's always fun to win. Winning at home is even more fun.
"I'm really happy that I'm part of this team and that I can help them go out there and have a chance to win a ballgame."