MIAMI — If Jose Fernandez was able to put himself in position to make history, Marlins manager Mike Redmond was not going to deny him.
On Saturday, Redmond answered the unanswered question — would Fernandez have been allowed to go the distance to a complete a no-hitter?
The situation became moot, because the no-hit bid was foiled with one out in the sixth inning on pinch-hitter Zach Walters’ infield single.
Fernandez on Friday night flirted with no-hit history in Miami’s 7-0 win over the Nationals at Marlins Park.
Walters’ dribbler down the third base line was the lone hit Fernandez allowed in seven shutout innings. The hard-throwing rookie struck out nine before he was lifted after 94 pitches.
“I was fully ready to let him pitch that whole game, if he had the chance to go for it,” Redmond said on Saturday. “And that would have been it.”
Now with 165 2/3 innings pitched, Fernandez has one more scheduled start before he is shut down after facing the Braves on Sept. 11 in Miami.
Had Fernandez gone nine innings in quest for a no-hitter, the Marlins would have called it a season for the rookie. It never reached that point, but during the game, Redmond and pitching coach Chuck Hernandez were already thinking about how to deal with a potential no-hitter.
“Believe me, I was sitting there thinking it,” Redmond said. “Chuck and I, we weren’t even looking at each other. We knew.”
The Marlins have four no-hitters in their history, with the last being turned in by Anibal Sanchez against the D-Backs. Ironically, Fernandez was pursuing the no-hitter on the seventh anniversary of Sanchez’s no-hitter.
Fernandez is facing an innings limit of about 170.
Redmond said against the Braves, the plan for Fernandez will be the same as Friday. The rookie will be allowed to go as deep into the game as possible, depending on how he is doing. So while, Fernandez is 4 1/3 innings shy of 170, his performance will determine how far he goes in his final start.
— Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — Jose Fernandez’s prowess on the mound is well documented.
The 21-year-old is a strong National League Rookie of the Year candidate. He’s already set the Marlins record for strikeouts in a season by a rookie.
On Friday, Fernandez also moved up the charts with his hitting.
Fernandez had two singles, giving him nine hits on the season, which is the third most ever by a Marlins’ rookie pitcher.
Dontrelle Willis set the club mark with 14 hits in 58 at-bats (.241) in 2003. Scott Olsen was 11-for-58 (.190) in 2006.
Fernandez is now 9-for-46 (.196).
Most Hits by Marlins rookie pitcher
1) Dontrelle Willis 14 (2003)
2) Scott Olsen 11 (2006)
3) Jose Fernandez 9 (2013)
4) Jason Vargas 8 (2005)
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — Perhaps there will be some wiggle room in Jose Fernandez’s innings limit.
The Marlins’ rookie sensation is making his 27th start of the season on Friday night against the Nationals at Marlins Park.
Fernandez is at 158 2/3 innings, and the team a few days ago said the rookie is facing a firm 170 innings limit before he is shut down. Once that was announced, the question became: How would the remaining 12 innings be divided over two starts?
The natural assumption is, if he wasn’t laboring, he would go six innings on Friday and six on Sept. 11 in his last outing, which is scheduled to be at home against the Braves.
On Friday, manager Mike Redmond clarified where things stood with Fernandez in relation to how the innings would be dispersed. Before facing the Nationals, Redmond discussed the matter with the star rookie.
“We’re going to focus on tonight,” Redmond told the rookie right-hander. “I told Jose not to worry about all the talk about the innings, and how some people are saying it’s going to be six and six.
“I just told him, ‘Listen, this is how it’s going to go — tonight, you going to go out there and try to win a ballgame. If it’s seven innings, it’s seven innings. If it’s eight innings, it’s eight innings. Don’t worry about the other stuff. That’s how we’re going to do it. Just go to win a ballgame. We’ll worry about the innings after that for whatever is going to happen down the road.’ ”
Even if Fernandez reaches eight innings on Friday, he is expected to make his final start on Sept. 11. Most likely, the rookie will be given the same advice that day, but we’ll have to see how it all shapes up after the hard-throwing right-hander does on Friday.
— Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — Friday night will mark game No. 41 Christian Yelich has played in the big leagues. It will be the 21-year-old’s first start in a position other than left field.
Yelich is getting the nod in center field, a position he is certainly familiar with in the Minor Leagues. He saw substantial time there in the past, including this season at Double-A Jacksonville.
But the Marlins are shuffling their lineup around in their series opener against the Nationals at Marlins Park.
Yelich shifting to center field opens up room for Chris Coghlan to play left field.
More than defense, the Marlins are looking to improve their offense. Coghlan and Yelich are each left-handed hitters.
Coghlan has seen substantial big league time in left field. But he has been working at third base, a position he played extensively in college at Ole Miss and in the Minor Leagues.
In two games at third, Coghlan has had six chances, and he’s committed one error.
Miami is coming off taking two of three against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Overall, however, it was a rough 3-6, three-city road trip.
Rookie of the Year candidate Jose Fernandez will be getting the start on Friday. It will be Fernandez’s second to last start before he is shut down.
1) Coghlan, LF
2) Solano, 2B
3) Yelich, CF
4) Stanton, RF
5) Morrison, 1B
6) Polanco, 3B
7) Hechavarria, SS
8) Mathis, C
9) Fernandez, P
— Joe Frisaro