The New York Mets would like to limit his entries into the record books.
Scheduled to make his major league debut, Fernandez will become the youngest pitcher in Marlins history Sunday when he attempts to cool the hot-hitting New York Mets in the finale of this three-game series at Citi Field.
Fernandez is the youngest pitcher in the majors at 20 years, 250 days, and his ascension to the majors has been sudden and rather surprising after he was selected 14th overall in the 2011 draft - three years after defecting from Cuba
The right-hander hasn't pitched above Class A, but he's been tremendous through 25 starts over the past two years, going 14-1 with a 1.75 ERA with 158 strikeouts in 134 innings.
Now, he's in position to become the youngest pitcher in team history to win a game, a record held by Ryan Dempster since June 28, 1998, when he was 21 years, 56 days.
"I think he is excited," manager Mike Redmond told the team's official website. "Probably a little nervous. Get him through that first inning, and he will think, 'Hey, this is what I've done my whole life.' Get him out there and just execute the game plan. I'm excited to get to watch him.
"With a young guy, you just stay positive. We're not going to give him too much information. When I was catching somebody's major league debut, I gave them just the basics."
The Mets were the victims the last time a 20-year-old won a game in the majors, when Atlanta's Julio Teheran beat New York at 20 years, 224 days on Sept. 8, 2011.
The Mets, though, are among the most productive offensive teams in the majors so far, scoring 32 runs through five games while connecting for seven homers - at least one in each contest.
John Buck has been a major contributor, going 8 for 19 with two homers and nine RBIs after batting a career-low .192 with Miami last year. The catcher drove in four runs Saturday, helping New York to a 7-3 win after his team lost the opener 7-5.
Perhaps fortunately for Fernandez, Buck is scheduled to get a day off.
"He can use a blow like everybody else," manager Terry Collins told the team's official website.
David Wright is looking to build on his best performance of the young season as he collected three hits with an RBI, two runs and his third stolen base Saturday. The All-Star third baseman totaled three hits over the first four games.
He's a career .324 hitter against Miami, and has a .372 average over the past 23 home meetings.
The Mets have won 12 of the last 16 versus the Marlins at Citi Field and will try to keep that success going by turning to Aaron Laffey , who will be recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas.
A strong performance could keep the left-hander in the rotation since Shaun Marcum is on the disabled list with a neck strain.
Laffey went 4-6 with a 4.56 ERA in 22 games - 16 starts - with Toronto last year, and he's never faced the Marlins.
Miami's Giancarlo Stanton is still seeking his first homer while going 4 for 18 with seven strikeouts. He didn't hit one out until his 20th game last year before finishing with a career-high 37.
|April 04, 2013||Casey Kotchman||Day-to-Day||Strained left hamstring|
|April 04, 2013||Casey Kotchman||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|March 31, 2013||Alfredo Silverio||60-Day DL||Sprained right elbow|
|March 31, 2013||Jose Ceda||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 31, 2013||Logan Morrison||60-Day DL||Recovery from right knee surgery|
|March 27, 2013||Henderson Alvarez||15-Day DL||Mild right shoulder inflammation|
|New York Mets|
|March 22, 2013||Jenrry Mejia||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|March 22, 2013||Frank Francisco||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|March 22, 2013||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Neck strain|
|March 22, 2013||Johan Santana||60-Day DL||Left shoulder surgery - out for season|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Once they got 20-year-old Jose Fernandez out of the game, the New York Mets breathed a sigh of relief and went to work.
Marlon Byrd grounded a two-run single just inside third base in the bottom of the ninth inning and New York rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Miami Marlins on Sunday.
Daniel Murphy homered and Anthony Recker had a run-scoring double for the Mets, who spoiled an impressive major league debut by the Marlins' prized pitching prospect.
"He's going to be a good one," Byrd predicted, saying Fernandez reminded him of Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez . "He's one of those guys if he's on, it really doesn't matter if you've seen him or not. He's going to be electric."
Justin Ruggiano , Chris Valaika and Donovan Solano (three hits) each had an RBI double off substitute starter Aaron Laffey to give the Marlins an early 3-0 cushion. But closer Steve Cishek (0-1) was unable to hold a one-run lead in the ninth, and Miami dropped to 1-5 heading into its home opener Monday night against Atlanta.
Fernandez, who had never been above Class A, gave up one run and three hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out eight, a record for a Marlins pitcher in his major league debut.
"I was more nervous watching five through nine than when I was pitching," Fernandez said. "It didn't feel any different. It was more like a spring training game."
Cishek retired his first batter in the ninth before Ruben Tejada was hit by a pitch. Pinch-hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis singled to left-center and Tejada aggressively dashed to third against Juan Pierre 's weak arm. Nieuwenhuis moved up to second on the throw.
Byrd, who entered in a fifth-inning double switch, pulled a grounder just beyond the reach of a diving Valaika and down the left-field line. Both runners scored easily and Byrd was mobbed by excited teammates between first and second after his fifth career game-ending hit and first since a grand slam for Texas against the New York Yankees on Aug. 4, 2008.
"It's huge to show that we can win close games," said Byrd, who struck out his first two times up.
Scott Rice (1-0) worked a scoreless ninth for his first big league win after 14 seasons in the minors. New York, outhit 13-6 in the game, took two of three from the Marlins and has won its first two series for only the second time in 11 years.
"It's all on me," Cishek said. "It's my job to go in there and shut it all down."
Five relievers combined to throw 4 2-3 scoreless innings for the Mets. Miami went 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 overall.
"We hung in there and we didn't let the game get away, which I thought was the biggest factor," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Recker had an RBI double in the fifth, his first hit for the Mets, but Fernandez fanned Byrd and retired Collin Cowgill on a popup to leave the game with a 3-1 lead after 80 pitches.
Miami plans to keep Fernandez on a pitch count all season and limit him to 150-170 innings.
Murphy greeted A.J. Ramos with a leadoff homer to center in the sixth, his second of the series after hitting six last season. Fill-in first baseman Greg Dobbs made a sprawling play later in the inning to keep Miami ahead.
Pitching with his parents in the stands, Fernandez flashed a mid-90s mph fastball and showed advanced command of his sharp breaking ball. He retired his first 10 batters, striking out five, before Murphy lined a single to center.
Murphy said the first time through the lineup against Fernandez was "a fact-finding mission for us as an offense."
"That guy's got good stuff," he said. "I thought we stayed patient. ... We were able to kind of get that pitch count up just a little bit to get into their bullpen in the sixth. You get in in the sixth, it gives you four shots at the bullpen and that's kind of what we're looking for."
Fernandez, the youngest pitcher in club history, came to the United States by boat as a Cuban refugee in 2008. The 6-foot-2, 242-pound right-hander was selected 14th overall out of his Tampa, Fla., high school in the 2011 amateur draft - one pick after the Mets went for outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who is with Class A Savannah in the South Atlantic League.
Fernandez was 14-1 with a 1.75 ERA in the low minors last season. He went to spring training this year with the Marlins but got reassigned to minor league camp March 13 and was ticketed for Double-A Jacksonville before injuries to Henderson Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi left two holes in the rotation.
Just before the season opener, Fernandez became a surprise addition to the roster, making him the youngest pitcher on a major league squad on opening day, according to STATS. He left 15 tickets for family and friends to attend his anticipated debut.
Laffey was touched up for 10 hits and three runs over 4 1-3 innings in his National League debut.
The left-hander, a part-time starter for Toronto last season, signed a minor league contract with the Mets and was called up to start Sunday in place of Shaun Marcum (neck), likely to be sidelined for at least two or three turns through the rotation.
NOTES: RHP Kevin Slowey gets the ball for Miami's home opener Monday night. ... To clear roster space for Laffey, the Mets optioned reliever Jeurys Familia to Triple-A Las Vegas and transferred LHP Johan Santana (shoulder surgery) to the 60-day DL. ... Mets RHP Matt Harvey , coming off a dominant season debut against San Diego, starts Monday night in Philadelphia against RHP Roy Halladay . ... New York has homered in its first six games for the third time in team history (1962 and 1987).