A good night of baseball, my friends.
1. Jose Fernandez steals the show. Clayton Kershaw was a little rusty in his return, throwing 66 pitches in only three innings, including a flat slider that J.T. Realmuto cracked for a first-inning home run. I don’t think there’s too much to worry about here; Kershaw still finished with five strikeouts and no walks. Look for the Dodgers to extend him to 80-90 pitches in his next outing. Meanwhile, Fernandez appeared to relish the matchup against Kershaw, finishing with 14 K’s — tying his career high — in seven scoreless innings as the Marlins won 4-1.
How Fernandez won, from Kenneth Woolums of ESPN Stats Info:
Fernandez recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts with his fastball. He induced nine swings and misses with his fastball, tied for fourth most in a game in his career.
The Dodgers faced an 0-2 count five times against Fernandez. In those situations, they were 0-for-5 with five strikeouts.
He threw 53 percent of his pitches on the outer half of the plate. Against pitches in that location, the Dodgers were 1-for-13 with nine strikeouts.
Earlier on Friday, our colleague Jim Bowden wrote a piece about big-name players who could be traded this offseason. Fernandez’s name was on that list. The Dodgers pursued him last offseason. Could it happen again? Could Kershaw and Fernandez be teammates next season?
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) September 10, 2016
2. Rick Porcello wins his 20th. Big series in Toronto, big night for the Red Sox in a 13-3 win that increased their AL East lead to two games over the Blue Jays. Porcello is now 20-3, an .870 winning percentage. The list of pitchers to win 20 games with a winning percentage that high:
1. Ron Guidry, 1978 Yankees, 25-3 (won Cy Young)
2. Lefty Grove, 1931 A’s, 31-4 (won MVP)
3. Cliff Lee, 2008 Indians, 22-3 (won Cy Young)
3. Preacher Roe, 1951 Dodgers, 22-3 (fifth in MVP)
5. Max Scherzer, 2013 Tigers, 21-3 (won Cy Young)
5. Clayton Kershaw, 2014 Dodgers, 21-3 (won Cy Young, MVP)
7. Smoky Joe Wood, 1912 Red Sox, 34-5 (fifth in early version of MVP vote)
8. David Cone, 1988 Mets, 20-3 (third in Cy Young)
8. Roger Clemens, 2001 Yankees, 20-3 (won Cy Young)
Porcello is only ninth in the AL in ERA at 3.20, but leader Michael Fulmer isn’t that far ahead at 2.76, and history says Cy Young voters love this kind of win-loss percentage. I don’t know if Porcello is the favorite, but he’s certainly a co-favorite right now.
3. Baltimore, say hello to Detroit. In a key wild-card matchup, Victor Martinez gave the Tigers a 4-3 win over the Orioles with an eighth-inning home run off Brad Brach. The Orioles and Tigers are now tied for the second wild card.
Need a run?
V-Mart can do that. pic.twitter.com/P9zMcxLOZV
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) September 10, 2016
4. Trea Turner, American hero. OK, I stole that line from one of my Twitter followers. But he has been beyond spectacular, hitting .345/.365/.561. He’ll be one of the key guys of the postseason, with the production, energy and flat-out excitement he has brought to the leadoff spot for the Nationals. Oh, and the occasional swing that is capable of hitting 440-foot walk-off home runs:
Per Statcast figures, Trea Turner has more HR of 440+ feet this season than Anthony Rizzo and the same number as David Ortiz.
— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) September 10, 2016
Trea Turner said that was the first walk-off homer of his life. Only other walk-off hit came when he was 9.
— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) September 10, 2016
5. New York, New York. In Atlanta, the Braves led 4-2 in the eighth when the clock struck midnight. Mauricio Cabrera led off the inning with a walk, Dansby Swanson booted a potential double-play grounder, there was another walk, a sac fly, a Curtis Granderson single and an RBI double from Kelly Johnson. The Mets scored four runs in the inning to pull out a 6-4 win. In the Bronx, Gary Sanchez snapped a 10-game homerless streak, Mark Teixeira hit a grand slam and Dellin Betances returned after a 50-minute rain delay to finish off the save in a 7-5 victory over the Rays. Interesting decision by Joe Girardi to bring Betances back after the delay, considering how careful he often is with his relievers. But when you’re battling for the playoffs, you want your best guy out there, even if it comes with a little risk. Both New York teams have won six in a row, and the Yankees, remarkably, are just a game back of the Orioles and Tigers. Bring on the chaos!