Jose Fernandez has been ridiculously good at Marlins Park, where he has never once tasted defeat. But his record on the road has been nothing to write home about.
“Gotta be the food,” joked Marlins manager Dan Jennings of the Marlins’ Cuban-born pitching star. “The Cuban food in Miami is certainly good. He seems to like it better.”
Fernandez will take the mound Wednesday in the Arizona desert, hoping to improve on a 4-8 record and 3.87 ERA in 17 career road starts. Those numbers are in stark contrast to his 14-0 mark and 1.17 ERA at Marlins Park.
“I’m not worried about pitching on the road,” Fernandez said. “I like pitching on the road. I like it as much as pitching at home. There’s no difference for me, pitching at home or pitching on the road.”
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Still, Fernandez said he is paying particular attention to getting better results in out-of-town ballparks such as the Diamondbacks’ Chase Field, where he lost his only previous start.
“I’m being really focused about pitching on the road, just trying to keep the routine the same, keep it the same as when I’m at home,” he said. “I’m really working hard at that.”
Neither Jennings nor Marlins pitching coach Chuck Hernandez see any reason for concern involving Fernandez’s home-road splits, saying it’s something that should even out over time.
Keep in mind, Fernandez is still young — and still inexperienced at the big-level. He has made just 39 career starts in the majors: 22 in Miami and 17 elsewhere.
“I don’t make too big a deal out of it. It’s too early,” Hernandez said. “He’s had a couple of pooh-pooh games on the road and hasn’t had many at home. I don’t think he stinks on the road. I foresee as we move along in his career, that’s going to even out a little.”
“Obviously, 81 times we play [at Marlins Park], so there’s a comfort level with the mound,” Jennings said. “But, again, we’ll pencil his name in every fifth day, wherever we are. We’ll gladly run Jose out in any ballpark we’re in and like our opportunities to win.”
▪ Giancarlo Stanton is ready to swing a bat again, even though it’ll probably be at least two weeks before he’s doing it for the Marlins. Stanton was checked out Monday by a hand specialist, who gave the slugger the green light to begin dry swings.
Stanton has been out since June 27 with a broken hamate bone. At the time, the time frame for recovery was four to six weeks. But it remains uncertain exactly when he’ll be able to return to the Marlins’ lineup.
“I don’t know that there’s truly a time frame,” Jennings said. “He’ll know, and he’ll tell us. One thing about Giancarlo, he’s very straightforward and very honest with his own assessment of himself and where he is. He’s putting together a tremendous year, and you know he wants to be back.”
▪ The frustrations continue for pitcher Jarred Cosart, who saw doctors Sunday and was told the dizziness he experienced in his most recent minor-league outing could be attributed to vertigo — the same condition that landed him on the DL in May.
“They’re going to run some more tests, and we should have the results a little later in the week,” Jennings said of Cosart. “I hope … they can determine the cause and find some resolution, because we need him back. But we need him to be healthy first.”
▪ Henderson Alvarez’s second minor-league rehab start with Single A Jupiter wasn’t any more impressive than his first one. Alvarez went three innings on Monday for the Hammerheads, allowing two unearned runs on four hits and a pair of walks. He didn’t record any strikeouts.
Alvarez, trying to work his way back from right shoulder inflammation, was scheduled to throw up to 60 pitches Monday. In his first rehab start last week he allowed two earned runs over 2 1/3 innings.
▪ The Marlins are receiving encouraging reports on recently demoted outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who hit .351 with a pair of home runs in his first nine games for Triple A New Orleans. But it remains to be seen when he’ll be called up by the Marlins.
“Last night, [Ozuna had] two doubles off the wall and threw a runner out trying to advance to second base,” Jennings said. “It’s good to see.”
▪ Tuesday: Marlins RHP Mat Latos (3-6, 4.90 ERA) at Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Jeremy Hellickson (6-5, 5.04), 9:40 p.m., Chase Field.
▪ Wednesday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (2-0, 2.37) at Diamondbacks LHP Robbie Ray (3-4, 2.29), 9:40 p.m., Chase Field.