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August rewind: Fernandez hot, but Marlins hitters stifled

As the Marlins get set to close out the season, Charlie McCarthy takes a look back at their August run.

The Miami Marlins' summer storyline remained consistent despite a change on the calendar from July to August.


The Marlins produced adequate pitching and weak hitting for the second straight month to go 8-20 in August, when they lost their last six games overall and 10 of the final 11.


A young pitching staff wasn't quite as stellar as during July (3.24), but still produced an overall 3.76 ERA that placed 11th in the majors. Then again, Jose Fernandez alone had a lot to do with the overall decent August pitching numbers.


But for the second straight month, the pitching did not receive enough offensive support.


Miami, which hit .224 in July, batted .221 in August. Only the Philadelphia Phillies (.218) were lower in the major leagues.


The Marlins tied the Giants for fewest homers (14) in the majors, and their 86 runs were one better than last-place San Diego, who played two fewer games than Miami.


The 86 runs were the fewest scored by Miami in an August with the exception of 51 (in 11 games) in 1994, a strike-shortened season.


Playing 12 games below .500 in August was a disappointment after Miami had gone 12-14 in July, which followed a resurgent 15-10 June.


Then again, 2013 for the Marlins is all about building a foundation.


Ace Jose Fernandez headed into September as a contender for National League Rookie of the Year honors, although he figured to have only two more starts due to a pitch limit. Highly touted rookie outfielders Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick completed their first full months in the majors.


Player of the Month


Justin Ruggiano


Ruggiano gets the nod just as much for perseverance as for his overall production. The outfielder was mired in a team-record 0-for-42 slump before going 3-for-4 at Kansas City on Aug. 14.


Beginning with that performance, Ruggiano went on a 16-for-40 (.400) streak and ended August with 4 homers and 10 RBI. He also had a .411 on-base percentage.


Ruggiano's .327 overall batting average for the month was second on the team to Greg Dobbs, primarily a pinch hitter who hit .333 (6-for-18) in August.


Honorable mention goes to Logan Morrison, who batted .273 with a team-high 16 RBI.


Pitchers of the Month


Jose Fernandez and Steve Cishek


Fernandez went 3-1 with 1.15 ERA. He walked 11, struck out 49 and opposing hitters batted .158 against him.


The rookie right-hander entered September at 10-6 with a 2.33 ERA overall. His rookie of the year aspirations could be hurt by his not pitching in the season's final weeks. Fernandez's final start figures to be Sept. 11 vs. Atlanta.


Cishek converted all 6 save opportunities in the month. He had 1 walk and 9 Ks in 10 innings, and opposing hitters batted .171 against him.

 

Who's Hot


Stanton hit safely in 15 of his last 17 games in August. He ended the month with team-high 5 HRs and 16 walks. He also had 8 RBI.


Yelich had five hits overall -- two multi-hit games -- among his last four games. For the month, the rookie hit .275 with 2 HRs and 8 RBI.


Who's Not


Unlike Yelich, other Marlins rookies struggled in August.


Promoted from Double-A with Yelich in late July, Marisnick hit .179 (12-for-67) in August with 3 RBI.


Donovan Solano, who provided an initial spark in July after he returned from Triple-A, struggled in August by batting .214, though he did have 12 RBI.


Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who had rebounded from a poor start to raise his average to .253 on July 23, hit just .196 in August.


Infielder Ed Lucas had 2 hits in his last 22 August at-bats and hit .191 for the month. Catcher Jeff Mathis had 2 hit sin his final 20 ABs and batted .154.


Starters Nathan Eovaldi (0-4, 4.20), Jacob Turner (0-2, 4.18), Tom Koehler (1-3, 4.86) and Henderson Alvarez (0-2, 5.74) all surrendered more hits than innings pitched in August. As young pitchers, they all might be felling the effects of a long season, though Eovaldi and Alvarez also were sidelined at season's start with shoulder injuries.


Lefty reliever Dan Jennings was 1-3 with a 7.20 ERA and allowed opposing hitters to bat .310 against him.


Reliever Chad Qualls, who had been lights out in July when he gave up no runs in 12 inn., went 2-1 with a 4.66 ERA in August, when he allowed 5 runs, 15 hits and 6 walks in 9 2/3 innings.


Numbers game


3 -- Turner achieved a Marlins record by committing three errors in an Aug. 31 game at Atanta. He joined Gary Sheffield (Sept. 30, 1993 as the only player in team history with three errors in a game.


5 -- Giancarlo Stanton’s home-run total for August.

 

6 -- Steve Cishek's saves total.

 

38 -- Before Stanton scored on Aug. 31, the Marlins had a streak of 38 straight walks without that player scoring. The longest walk-scoreless drought in franchise history was 40 in 2003.


86 -- Total numbers of runs scored. A team low for an August in a non-strike season.


Tweet of the month


Reliever Ryan Webb, who posted a .233 ERA in 19 1/3 August innings, composed music to be played when he enters a game.



Charlie McCarthy can be reached at mac1763@bellsouth.net or on Twitter @mccarthy_chas