MIAMI (AP) — One of the few scares Jose Fernandez has gotten recently came in a collision with a coach prior to a contest he wasn’t even starting.
As far as the competition goes, the Miami Marlins’ phenom has been fending it off with relative ease.
The 21-year-old takes the mound Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers seeking to maintain his perfect home record in the finale of this three-game set.
Fernandez (4-1, 1.59 ERA) hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 23 innings, and he struck out 22 while giving up five hits over his last two starts. He beat Atlanta 1-0 on April 22 and 9-0 on Tuesday after going eight innings in each contest.
With the second victory over the Braves, Fernandez improved to 12-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 19 starts at Marlins Park, never having allowed more than two earned runs. The right-hander’s 12.48 strikeouts per nine innings rank second in the majors, and his opponents’ batting average of .174 ranks fourth.
“Jose did a great job,” manager Mike Redmond said. “We needed him to go out there and log some big innings, and that’s back-to-back great starts against a great offensive team.”
Fernandez said he is OK to start this contest after a collision with strength and conditioning coach Ty Hill during pregame warmups before the Marlins (15-15) had their four-game winning streak snapped with a 9-7, 11-inning loss to the Dodgers on Saturday. He complained of minor soreness in his non-throwing shoulder following the incident.
“It was a little accident with Ty,” Fernandez told the team’s official website. “I was running my sprints and he came back to get a ball, and kind of got in my way. We bumped into each other. No problem. We’re both fine.”
Fernandez won both of his starts against the Dodgers last season while posting a 3.00 ERA and striking out 15 in 12 innings. He was scheduled to oppose Hyun-jin Ryu in this contest, but Ryu has been placed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.
“That explains the velocity we’ve been seeing, 87 and 88 (miles per hour),” manager Don Mattingly told the Dodgers’ official website.
Stephen Fife will be called up from Triple-A and is expected to start. The right-hander, who has never faced Miami, went 4-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 10 starts and two relief appearances last season. He had a 7.08 ERA in six games for Albuquerque this year.
Fife will look to help Los Angeles (18-13) earn its fifth victory in six games after pinch-hitter Carl Crawford hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the 11th on Saturday. Yasiel Puig hit a three-run shot and Dee Gordon finished 5 for 6 with two RBIs for the Dodgers, who let a five-run lead slip away before surviving.
Gordon also stole three bases and leads the majors with 19 while increasing his batting average to .357. He’s 8 for 11 in the series.
“He’s hitting .350, he’s stealing bags, he’s playing good defense,” Mattingly said. “You can’t really ask a whole lot more.”
Jeff Baker and Jeff Mathis each hit solo homers for the Marlins, and Marcell Ozuna’s three-run shot in the seventh trimmed the Dodgers’ lead to one before Jarrod Saltalamacchia drew a bases-loaded walk in the ninth that tied it.
The Marlins, though, left the bases loaded in the eighth and ninth and had two runners on in the 10th.
“We get a hit in any of those situations, and it’s over,” Redmond said.
The Dodgers have won four of the last five meetings in Miami.
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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