PITTSBURGH -- Jose Fernandez was first honored for a week’s worth of dominance.
On Monday, Major League Baseball recognized his spectacular pitching in July by naming him the National League’s Rookie of the Month.
With likely a handful of starts left this season, Fernandez continues to get stronger as he makes a strong case for NL Rookie of the Year honors.
“[Fernandez] continues to get better each time,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “I think you’re seeing a kid that’s going out there with a lot of confidence and thinks he can line up and beat anybody right now.”
Fernandez compiled a 3-1 record and a 2.06 ERA in five July starts, allowing only eight earned runs in 35 innings. He led all rookies with 40 strikeouts. This included a 14-strikeout performance against the Indians in his last start against the Indians.
Fernandez will make his next start Thursday against the Pirates — the team he beat July 28 at home while striking out 13 batters.
The 27 combined strikeouts were the most ever in consecutive games by any Marlins pitcher, and according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Fernandez became just the fifth pitcher under the age of 22 since 1900 to record consecutive games of 13 strikeouts or more, joining Dennis Eckersley (1976), Dwight Gooden (1984), Jose Rijo (1986) and Kerry Wood (1998).
“It’s a privilege to get that [award], and it represents every man on the team,” Fernandez said. “It’s not only my accomplishment. It’s the team’s accomplishment. It’s [catcher Jeff] Mathis calling a great game back there. It’s us making plays and getting hits.
“This team is young, but I see a lot of passion on this club, and we hate to lose. We just have to keep playing and I think next year, you’ll see a lot of surprises from this team. Everybody has seen that we’re playing a lot better.”
“Since going to the All-Star Game, it seems like he’s taken himself to another level,” Redmond said. “I think that was a big boost confidence-wise knowing he can pitch among the best in this game.”
Marlins starters entered Tuesday not having allowed a home run in 12 consecutive games — the best such streak since the Braves in 1998.
Tom Koehler, who will start Wednesday, has been really good at keeping the ball in the park with no home runs allowed in his past three starts and one in past six.
• Brad Hand earned Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week honors this week after holding opponents scoreless in his past two starts at Triple A New Orleans. Hand led all PCL pitchers with 16 strikeouts in 11 innings.
• Wednesday: Marlins RHP Koehler (3-6, 4.34 ERA) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Charlie Morton (3-3, 4.07), 7:05 p.m., PNC Park.
• Thursday: Marlins RHP Fernandez (8-5, 2.54) vs. Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (5-5, 3.69), 12:35 p.m., PNC Park.
• Scouting report: The Pirates scored their only victory against the Marlins in a three-game series at Marlins Park against Koehler on July 27, tagging him for nine hits and five runs over five innings.