Jose Fernandez is back! The Marlins starting pitcher is back 14 months after Tommy John surgery. Major League Baseball has one of its most exciting stars back on the mound. This is great news for baseball, the Marlins, and their fans. This could be what prevents the Marlins from losing the interest of their fans while Giancarlo Stanton is recovering from wrist surgery. Miami has taken several important steps towards being relevant this season, all of which could make them dangerous in 2016.
The primary mission of Jose Fernandez’s first start was to get the nerves out and to make it through healthy. He accomplished both of these goals. The first inning was a little wild for Fernandez, but not too wild. It was easy to see he the adrenaline was pumping, and was overthrowing his pitches on several occasions. The Giants scored two runs on the Marlins in the first inning, but Fernandez was able to compose himself before San Francisco could tag him for more. Overall, his return was a success. Jose Fernandez pitched 6 innings, allowed 7 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, struck out 6, walked none, allowed 1 homerun, all on 89 pitches, 68 for strikes. He also went 1 for 3 at the plate, hitting a homerun in his second at bat. Overall, Fernandez and the Marlins should be ecstatic with how his return played out.
The timing of Jose Fernandez’s return works out nicely for the Marlins. The looming All Star break means he will get two or three starts under him before the break, meaning the team could give him a little extra rest without having to skip him in the rotation. The All Star Break could enable the Marlins to pitch Fernandez later in the season than he might otherwise could have. Miami is not completely out of the race for the playoffs, but they have some major ground to make up if they want to play in October. As August and September roll around the fan base could become uninterested in the team if they are out of the playoff race, but with Fernandez pitching every fifth day and Giancarlo Stanton hopefully returning to form post-surgery Marlins Park could attract more fans. The issues between the Marlins and their fan base are well documented. However, hopefully this is the beginning of a new era for baseball in south Florida. Young stars like Fernandez, Stanton, Dee Gordon, and Christian Yelich have the potential to create and sustain interest and excitement about Marlins baseball. South Florida is already fertile ground for developing baseball players, this could increase if the Marlins become and remain a relevant team.
Jose Fernandez is back. His first start was a success, more so in that he came through it healthy and the buzz around the Marlins has returned. Fernandez and Stanton have the ability to make baseball in Miami both successful and viable both now and into the future. The 2015 Miami Marlins are just another building block for the success that appears on the horizon for the club. The third time should be the charm for the Marlins, however it seems unlikely that Miami would give the team a fourth try to build a successful team if ownership completely guts the team of its stars as it has done in the past. Welcome back Jose Fernandez! You are the present and the future of the Marlins and Miami baseball, good luck.