Maybe Jose Fernandez should have gotten that good night’s sleep after all.
One day after driving in the winning runs in a pinch-hitting cameo, Fernandez was roughed up by the last-place Atlanta Braves in the worst outing of his career. Fernandez gave up all nine runs in a 9-1 battering by the Braves on Saturday.
“Rough day, man,” Fernandez said.
It was another dumbfounding defeat to a Braves team that would be running away with the National League East if only they could play the Marlins in all 162 games. They are 8-3 against the Marlins this year, 20-50 against everyone else.
Even with Fernandez on the mound in an obvious mismatch against a Braves starter — Lucas Harrell — who last pitched in the majors two years ago, the Marlins still couldn’t find a way to win.
They mustered only three hits in six innings against Harrell.
“It’s called baseball. Baseball doesn’t make much sense,” said Fernandez, whose record fell to 10-4.
Said Marlins manager Don Mattingly: “I thought [Harrell] carved us up pretty good, honestly. We didn’t do much with him.”
Their only bright spot at the plate came in the third when Ichiro Suzuki drove in the Marlins’ only run with an RBI triple. The hit pushed Ichiro’s career total to 2,989, leaving him 11 shy of 3,000.
But the Braves made easing pickings of Fernandez, jumping out to a lead on Freddie Freeman’s two-run homer in the first before unloading on him in a seven-run sixth.
“I thought he was throwing the ball pretty good,” Mattingly said. “It wasn’t a typical Jose, but I thought he threw the ball good enough. I feel like if we had come out and swung the bats a little better for him, it’s probably a different game. He’s just trying to hang in there, keep it 2-1. It puts a lot of pressure on him to do that.”
Three of the runs that Fernandez allowed were unearned because of a Chris Johnson error. Nonetheless, the Braves batted around against Fernandez in the sixth, lashing out with five hits, including a three-run homer by Jace Peterson that sent him to the showers.
“This game is hard,” Fernandez said. “It’s not easy. It’s not easy at all. They’ve got a tough lineup. They’re playing good baseball. It won’t be the last time it’s going to happen. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen that often.”
Fernandez simply ran out of gas.
During Friday night’s long game, coaches suggested to Fernandez that he return to the team hotel and rest up for Saturday’s start. But he elected to stick around for the 12-inning affair and won the game with his bat.
In an unfathomable role reversal, he lost Saturday’s game with his arm.
“I’m sure that is emotional to do something like that,” Mattingly said of Fernandez’s hitting heroics the night before. “I know he’s an emotional kid and probably had a little trouble sleeping. It could have had something to do with it.”
But Fernandez said he got “normal” sleep.
“I don’t think [Friday night] has to do with anything with the results [Saturday],” Fernandez said. “I felt I was throwing the ball well. They played better, that simple.”
Making matters worse: First baseman Justin Bour left with a sprained right ankle and is listed as day-to-day. Bour planted his foot awkwardly on the base and eventually had to come out.
Bour said he should be OK in a day or two.