Jose Fernandez’s 12-6 record, 2.19 ERA pales in comparison to the Picasso canvases being painted by Cy Young-caliber pitchers this season. To the Marlins, their 21-year-old rookie has been a glimmering ray of hope in what’s been a dismal season. The rest of the Marlins pitching staff id 41-84 this season and Fernandez is the only pitcher with double-digit wins. Against the Atlanta Braves, Miami’s gamma rays transformed Fernandez into a one-man wrecking ball and nearly ignited a bench-clearing brawl.
After fellow rookie Evan Gattis homered off of him at the top of the sixth inning, Fernandez turned red. Then green in the face (matching the Marlins’ bright orange uniforms) and grew envious of El oso blanco’s home run. Fernandez took matters into his own hands by hulk smashing his first career home run, flipped his bat almost immediately after making contact and stared at it. The only thing missing was T.O., buttery popcorn and a pair of 3-D glasses for the real IMAX experience.
To really rub dirt into the wound, Fernandez also spit in the dirt as he rounded third base. Never mind the fact that it was the Marlins home dirt, the Braves took umbrage to getting disrespected by a rookie pitcher and the benches cleared while he exchanged words with Brian McCann at home plate.
It was the second time in the last month that the Braves felt disrespected by a youngblood. On August 6, Braves pitcher Julio Teheran drilled Bryce Harper twice after he rounded the bases too slowly. However, this was an unusually confrontational “Bruce Banner” moment for a pitcher at the plate.
The Marlins disciplined Fernandez by shutting him down for the season after he allowed one run while picking up his 12th win in seven innings of work. Not really. The Marlins did shut him down for the season, but only because his 172 1/3 innings reached the organization-imposed innings limit. Interestingly enough, Fernandez stayed out of the headlines for much of the year, but is considered the favorite for NL Rookie of the Year over Yasiel Puig.
However, after the game Fernandez apologized for trying to show up the Braves.
"I feel embarrassed," he told reporters. "I feel like I don't deserve to be here, because this isn't high school. This is a professional game. I made a mistake. I'm going to learn from it."
Marlins manager Mike Redmond also was unhappy with the display, and he hinted that he had a hand in Fernandez's apology.
"I think tonight showed some immaturity on Jose's part and his youth—not to make excuses for it," Redmond said, according to the Herald. "Showing the other team up with a home run, that's not what we're doing here. That's not what we're trying to do. I know he got caught up in emotion, but I'm not happy. It really ruined the night for me. I know that will never happen again."