How stressful inning may have hurt Jose

ATLANTA — The belief and hope is all Jose Fernandez is dealing with is a tender right shoulder, which should get better with rest. But we won’t know for sure until he undergoes more tests, and gets examined by Marlins physician, Dr. Lee Kaplan.

Fernandez returned to Miami on Saturday, the day after he labored through a five-inning, 76-pitch outing in the Marlins’ 6-3 loss to the Braves at Turner Field. The start was going smoothly until a stressful 38-pitch fourth inning, which may have been the cause for his shoulder stiffness.

In the fourth inning, Fernandez threw 18 breaking pitches (either sliders or curveballs) and 15 fastballs (two and four-seamers) plus five changeups. In that frame, 31 pitches were thrown from the stretch.

The Marlins have been taking a “common sense” approach with Fernandez. They pulled him after five innings, and in the fifth, he needed just nine pitches to get three outs. Still, he was coming off a 112-pitch outing last Sunday against the Padres at Marlins Park. It was the second most pitches he’s ever thrown at the big league level, topped only by 114 on May 4, 2014 against the Dodgers.

The 114 pitches, by the way, came in the start before he faced the Padres on May 9, 2014. After that game it was revealed the right-hander tore a ligament in his right elbow. He underwent Tommy John surgery a week later.

Miami has been handling Fernandez with care throughout the nearly 14 months he took to recover from his surgery.

After his elbow injury, some speculated Fernandez added stress to his elbow by throwing so many breaking pitches. On Friday night, 27 of his 76 pitches were either sliders or curveballs. He also threw 11 changeups, along with 19 two-seam and 19 four-seam fastballs.

His velocity maxed at 98 mph, which he reached three times. In the fourth inning, he triggered 97 three times. In the fifth inning, his fastball topped at 94 mph, which was his final pitch of the night.

Did throwing out of the stretch, combined with 36 percent of his pitches on the night being breaking balls help create the shoulder tightness? It’s one theory.

Here’s a breakdown of all 76 pitches Fernandez threw on Friday, as tracked by MLB.com’s Game Day program. Game Day listed all of Fernandez’s breaking balls as “curveballs.” He may call the pitch a slider, but for tracking purposes, it was read as a curve.

Fastballs are listed as 2-seam (2 FB), 4-seam (4 FB), curveball (CB) and changeup (CH)

1st inning

1- 92 CH
2- 95 2 FB
3- 83 CB
4- 83 CB
5- 94 2 FB
6- 94 4 FB
7- 95 2 FB
8- 98 4 FB
9- 94 2 FB

2nd inning

10- 93 2 FB
11- 86 CH
12- 93 2 FB
13- 95 2 CB
14- 97 4 FB
15- 98 4 FB
16- 84 CB
17- 83 CB
18- 97 4 FB
19- 84 CB
20- 98 4 FB
21- 80 CB

3rd inning

22- 94 2 FB
23- 93 2 FB
24- 95 4 FB
25- 81 CB
26- 94 2 FB
27- 94 4 FB
28- 82 CB
29- 97 4 FB

4th inning

30- 86 CH
31- 86 CH
32- 95 4 FB
33- 84 CB
34- 96 2 FB
35- 89 CH
36- 81 CB
37- 97 4 FB
38- 82 CB
39- 97 4 FB
40- 83 CB
41- 97 4 FB
42- 93 2 FB
43- 95 4 FB
44- 83 CB
45- 83 CB
46- 88 CH
47- 95 2 FB
48- 83 CB
49- 95 4 FB
50- 87 CH
51- 94 2 FB
52- 88 CH
53- 96 4 FB
54- 83 CB
55- 85 CB
56- 84 CB
57- 85 CB
58- 95 2 FB
59- 84 CB
60- 84 CB
61- 97 4 FB
62- 85 CB
63- 82 CB
64- 96 4 FB
65- 94 2 FB
66- 85 CB
67- 84 CB

5th inning

68- 92 CH
69- 92 2 FB
70- 93 4 FB
71- 93 2 FB
72- 90 CH
73- 74 CB
74- 85 CH
75- 80 CB
76- 94 2 FB

Joe Frisaro

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