Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez made his final start of the 2013 season on Wednesday night at Marlins Park against the Braves. He went out with a bang.
Pumping easy high-90s fastballs and wicked off-speed stuff, the 21-year-old right-hander held first-place Atlanta to to one run on five hits over seven innings while striking out five in what wound up as a 5-2 victory for Miami. Fernandez also contributed offensively, slapping a fourth-inning single to center field and cranking his first career home run — a solo shot — in the sixth inning. He watched the homer fly, flipped his bat and then appeared to spit near the third base bag, prompting a benches-clearing reaction from the Braves. No punches were thrown and no ejections were handed out. Here’s the replay:
Fernandez — the likely Rookie of the Year in the National League — will finish his first big league season with a 2.19 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 187 strikeouts in 172 2/3 innings. As noted by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, that 2.19 ERA is the best mark from a starter in his age-20 season since Doc Gooden (1.53) in 1985.
Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera didn’t play in the Tigers’ season finale against the White Sox, but he has officially clinched the AL batting title with a .338 average following Sunday’s action. It’s Cabrera’s fourth batting title in his last five seasons.
Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon entered Sunday’s season finale with a bit more pressure. He was in a tight race with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper for the NL batting title, trailing only by rounding to the fourth place, .3307 to .3306. Gordon went 3-for-4 in a loss to the Phillies while Harper went 1-for-4 in a loss to the Mets. As a result, Gordon officially won the NL batting title with a .330 average. It’s the first batting title of Gordon’s brief career. Hanley Ramirez was the Marlins’ last batting champion, doing so in 2009.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are expected to announce Billy Eppler as their new general manager on Monday. Eppler had been serving as the assistant general manager with the Yankees.
Jerry DiPoto had been the Angels’ GM but he stepped down on July 1. DiPoto later joined the Red Sox in an advisory role, then was named the Mariners’ new GM last week.
The Angels lost to the Rangers in Sunday’s season finale, which eliminated them from contention for the second AL Wild Card spot. They finished 85-77. Most of their regulars are under contract for the 2016 season, but Eppler will have to decide whether to tender contracts to seven arbitration-eligible players while filling in the rest of the roster.