With each start, Jose Fernandez just keeps getting better and better.
And when Fernandez pitches at home, it’s a mismatch for him against his opponent.
Fernandez improved to 12-0 at home for his career with his eight innings of scoreless, two-hit dominance against the Atlanta Braves. His career ERA at home now sits at 1.00.
The Elias Sports Bureau provided a bevy of notes on Fernandez.
Let’s run through them:
The 1.00 ERA is the lowest for a pitcher in his first 19 career home starts in the last 100 years. The previous low was Vida Blue’s 1.28 (1969 to 1971).
He’s the fourth pitcher in baseball’s modern era (since 1900) to win his first 12 home decisions, joining LaMarr Hoyt (16), Johnny Allen (16) and most recently David Palmer (13 from 1979 to 1982).
Fernandez is the second pitcher in the last 100 years who allowed no earned runs and had eight strikeouts in three straight starts at the age of 21 or younger.
The other was the Rangers' Ed Correa in 1986 (also three straight).
In terms of more recognizable names, Fernandez joins a list of pitchers 21 or younger to throw three straight starts of at least seven innings without allowing an earned run. The others to do so in the divisional era (since 1969) are Dwight Gooden (five straight), Matt Cain (four) and Fernando Valenzuela (three).
How Fernandez won
Fernandez had a very effective breaking ball on Tuesday, which isn’t unusual.
He threw 31 against the Braves, the third-most he’s thrown in a game in his career. They netted him eight outs (including a career-best six strikeouts) and yielded only one baserunner.
Location-wise, Fernandez's control was pinpoint. He threw 48 of his 98 pitches on the outer third of the zone or off the outside corner, and the Braves were 0 for 17 with 6 strikeouts in at-bats ending in a pitch to that location. The 17 outs were a career-best.
Fernandez got hitters to expand the strike zone. He threw 52 pitches out of the strike zone and the Braves swung at 26 of them. His 50 percent chase rate and 13 outs recorded out of the strike zone were both career-bests.
The Braves tried to get to Fernandez early in at-bats, but that didn’t work. He got a career-best five outs on the first pitch.
Giancarlo Stanton in a supporting role
Usually, Marlins games are dominated by the story of monstrous home runs by Giancarlo Stanton, who was overshadowed by Fernandez on this night.
Stanton’s home run on Tuesday measured 391 feet, notable as it was his shortest home run this season. He’s averaged 427 feet on his eight home runs in 2014.
Stanton’s average home run over the last four seasons has averaged 416 feet. Among those with at least 20 homers in that span, only Justin Upton averages more distance on his long balls (419 feet).