As rookie Jose Fernandez closes in on the 170-inning limit that was set for him when the season started, manager Mike Redmond said he and pitching coach Chuck Hernandez are looking into creative ways to squeeze as much mileage out of him as possible without going over the cap.
“Could there be a spot in there where maybe we skip a start to pitch him an extra week into September? That’s a possibility,” Redmond said. “We’re trying to see how we can extend him as deep into September as we we can.”
Fernandez has pitched 145 2/3 innings so far, leaving him about 24 more innings shy of the cap, or about three or four more starts depending on how deep into games he goes in his upcoming starts.
“I’m not going to cut him out of a game because of the inning,” Redmond said “We’re going to let him pitch.”
Redmond joked that he is almost dreading having the rambunctious Fernandez sitting with him on the bench the rest of the season after being shut down.
“He’s going to drive everybody nuts, that’s what he’s going to do,” Redmond said, laughing. “He’s going to sit on the bench and he’s going to drive everybody crazy. I know we’re all going to wish he had more innings.”
Marlins reliever A.J. Ramos used Yasiel Puig’s emotions to his advantage when he struck out the Dodgers’ young star on Monday. Ramos said he could tell from the Marlins bullpen how angry and frustrated Puig became after Fernandez whiffed him in the fifth.
“You’ve got to watch their body language sometimes. It tells a lot,” said Ramos, who took over for Fernandez in the seventh with the Marlins clinging to a one-run lead. “Yesterday, he was really frustrated, so I figured he wanted to jump on something quick. If I threw him a fastball, he might have crushed it.”
Ramos threw Puig three straight sliders. Puig swung at all three and struck out.
“I didn’t want to give him anything to take his frustration out on,” Ramos said. “If they’re frustrated, they want to get a hit. They’re pressing. He was out of his game. So you throw stuff that starts in the zone and goes out. I wanted to keep him off balance. So I made sure I threw sliders out of the zone.”
Puig went 0 for 5 on Monday, showed up late to the ballpark on Tuesday, and was fined by Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who didn't start the talented Cuban.