PHILADELPHIA -- When José Fernández got Cody Asche looking on a 97-mph heater in the fourth inning of the Marlins' 3-2, 11-inning win over the Phillies on Monday, it wasn't only his 10th strikeout of the game or the first via the fastball -- it was also Fernandez's 500th of his young career.
The 23-year-old flamethrower became the fastest starting pitcher to reach the milestone, doing it in 400 career innings. He just beat out Yu Darvish, who hit 500 two seasons ago after 401 2/3 innings. Aroldis Chapman set the record for any pitcher last season, striking out his 500th batter to finish his 292nd inning.
When manager Don Mattingly was informed of the milestone, his only reaction was to give his ace a couple of claps. "Applause, applause" Mattingly said, before collecting his thoughts. "No, but he's a special talent. He's been a great kid to manage to this point. He's full of enthusiasm. He loves to compete. He's just fun to be around."
By total batters faced, the feat is even more impressive. Fernandez faced 72 fewer than Darvish -- 1,587 compared to 1,659 -- and 167 fewer than Dwight Gooden. How about Clayton Kershaw? 2,023. Nolan Ryan? 2,250. Randy Johnson? 2,269.
By games started, however, Fernandez is only third. His 65 wasn't fast enough to beat Gooden's 61 or Darvish's 62.
With another double-digit strikeout performance, Fernandez only enforced that it would have happened a lot quicker, too, if not for Tommy John surgery that kept him out for parts of two seasons.
With 14 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings Monday against the Phillies, Fernandez recorded his seventh double-digit strikeout game of the season and the 16th of his career.