Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Some Marlins fans have asked why the team will shut down rookie ace pitcher Jose Fernandez before the end of the season. The answer to that question was on full display in New York Monday afternoon.
The New York Mets announced Monday that rookie pitcher Matt Harvey has torn his ulnar collateral ligament, which can often lead to Tommy John surgery, according to CBSSports.com. Harvey, 24, was pitching his first full season at the major-league level and was a National League All-Star this year.
The Mets had planned to shut Harvey down when he reached around 200 innings pitched on the season. He was at 178.1 innings pitched this season. But now, Harvey will be gone for the rest of the 2013 season and if he has to have Tommy John surgery, probably all of 2014 as well.
Harvey’s injury brings the discussion back to Miami and the Marlins’ plans to shut down Fernandez. The 21-year-old Cuban ace has been nearly unstoppable this season, but has logged 152.2 innings pitched on the season.
When Fernandez was brought up at the beginning of the season, the Marlins were reportedly going to shut down Fernandez when he reached roughly 170-180 innings pitched this season. The thinking behind the move was to save Fernandez’s arm for future seasons.
Assuming the Marlins shut down Fernandez at around 170 innings, he has two or three starts left this season before he’s pulled from the rotation. It will come as the calendar turns to September, but if Fernandez can dominate his final 2-3 starts, he likely seals up the National League Rookie of the Year.
Even if Fernandez doesn’t win the award, which he should, it will still be far smarter for the Marlins to save the rookie’s arm for future seasons when the Marlins might contend than to run the risk of injury in meaningless games this season.
Fernandez’s numbers have been eye-popping to say the least in 2010. On a really bad team, Fernandez has gone 10-5 on the season in 25 starts. He’s put together an ERA of 2.30 and has 165 strikeouts on the season.
The rookie ace has allowed opposing batters to hit just .188 against him and has a WHIP of 1.00. Over his last 10 starts, Fernandez has almost been untouchable. He’s 6-1 with a 1.46 ERA in 69 innings pitched and has 81 strikeouts over those 10 games.