SAN DIEGO – Jose Fernandez said this weekend he’s just excited to pitch in the All-Star Game.
On Monday morning, it was announced Fernandez won’t be as the National League’s starter.
Mets manager Terry Collins, who will manage the NL squad Tuesday night at Petco Park in San Diego, announced Monday morning that he will go with the Giants’ Johnny Cueto as his starting pitcher.
Fernandez was believed to be a strong candidate to be chosen as the starter in light of a few of the NL’s best – Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, Noah Syndergaard and Stephen Strasburg – all out of the game.
But Collins went with Cueto, who is 13-1 in 18 starts this season with a 2.47 ERA that ranks only behind Kershaw (1.79) and Bumgarner (1.94) for the best in the majors.
Cueto, who pitched for the Royals against Collins’ Mets in last year’s World Series, will become the first Dominican-born pitcher to start the All-Star Game since Ubaldo Jimenez in 2010. Cueto will oppose the White Sox' Chris Sale, who was chosen as the AL starter.
“We want to try and get as many of the guys in that were voted by the players and make sure they get in early so we can then sort out the back end of the game a little bit,” Collins said. “We haven’t seen Johnny this year, but his numbers speak for themselves and with what we saw last year against us that was the best outing I’ve ever seen him have.
“We had five very qualified guys and as the game got closer and closer, he continued to dominate the league and I felt he was the right choice.”
Fernandez, a second-time All-Star who will pitch in his first since his 2013 rookie season, is 11-4 with 154 strikeouts, which ranks second in the majors behind Max Scherzer, and has a 2.52 ERA, which ranks fifth in the majors.
Fernandez’s 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings ratio is a major-league best and his strikeout total at the break is a Marlins’ franchise record.
Marcell Ozuna, who was moved into the starting lineup this past weekend following injuries to outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Dexter Fowler, will bat seventh in the NL lineup.
Ozuna, a first-time All-Star, is in the midst of a major turnaround season, hitting .307 with 17 home runs and 47 RBI.
A year ago at this time, Ozuna was playing in New Orleans for the Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate after being demoted.
Marlins’ closer A.J. Ramos (27 saves in 28 chances) is tied for second in the majors in saves and is also a first-time All-Star.
Fernando Rodney, acquired by the Marlins June 30 in a trade with the Padres, could find himself pitching on the home field of his former team. Rodney was picked for the third time in his career largely for his 17 saves in 17 chances and 0.31 ERA as the Padres closer.
The quartet represents the Marlins highest number of All-Stars since 2005 and matched a team record.