Might Jose Fernandez start the All-Star Game?
When asked, Fernandez smiled before adding: “I don’t know yet. I don’t know if I’m going to start. I don’t know where I’m throwing. They haven’t told me yet. But I’m getting ready to pitch.”
National League All-Star manager Terry Collins will announce his starting pitcher on Monday. Because of injuries and defections, he doesn’t have many choices.
Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard, Madison Bumgarner and Stephen Strasburg — each of whom would have been considered strong candidates to start Tuesday night’s game in San Diego — are all out.
That leaves Fernandez, the Giants’ Johnny Cueto and the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta as the most logical choices among the starting pitchers left on the NL roster.
Fernandez is 11-4 with a 2.52 ERA and ranks second in the majors with 154 strikeouts. Cueto is 13-1 with a 2.47 ERA. Arrieta is 12-4 with a 2.68 ERA but has struggled of late, posting an 8.27 ERA over his past three starts.
“Obviously, it’s a different animal if you start,” Fernandez said. “Whatever it is, it’ll be an honor.”
No Marlins pitcher has ever started an All-Star Game. Fernandez pitched in the 2013 All-Star Game as a rookie, entering in the sixth inning and striking out two of the three batters he faced.
The Giants are campaigning for Cueto to get the start.
“I’ve got to think [Cueto’s] a front-runner,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters on Saturday, “and that’s not just being biased. That’s just looking at numbers. I don’t know what Terry’s going to do there, but you look at the numbers and they speak for themselves.”
Fernandez said he’ll accept whatever role he’s given.
“Just the fact I’m getting invited to go is big,” Fernandez said.
this and that
▪ With the 2017 All-Star Game set for Marlins Park, the Marlins have a contingent of 40 employees in San Diego in preparation for next year’s event.
Major League Baseball and the Marlins are expected to unveil the logo for the 2017 game later this month.
▪ In addition to the five Marlins players taking part in All-Star events, assistant coach and video coordinator Pat Shine will also be attending in an active role. Shine will throw to Giancarlo Stanton in Monday night’s Home Run Derby.
“I think we can do some damage,” Shine said.
Shine has been throwing batting practice to Stanton for the past two seasons. When Stanton was invited to take part in the Home Run Derby, he asked Shine to go along.
“I was fired up,” Shine said. “He asked what my plans were for the All-Star break. I told him I was planning on playing golf, but I’m way better at throwing [batting practice].”
▪ Petco Park won’t seem unfamiliar to reliever Fernando Rodney, one of four Marlins players on the NL All-Star roster.
After all, Rodney spent the first half of the season with the Padres, who traded him to the Marlins on June 30.
“Maybe it’ll be a little bit strange to be back in San Diego, where I started the year,” Rodney said.
Rodney has not allowed an earned run in his 16 relief appearances at Petco this season.