The Miami Marlins lost their ace Jose Fernandez for the season on May 9th to an elbow injury.
Less than four months later, the Marlins could be without their second best pitcher for the rest of the season.
With Fernandez down, Henderson Alvarez stepped into the ace role for the Marlins and filled that role admirably. His excellent season resulted in an All-Star appearance, the first of his career.
Unfortunately for the Marlins, his season could be ending prematurely as well, after leaving Monday’s game with an oblique injury.
"With only 26 games remaining, though, there’s a chance the All-Star right-hander might not get back on the mound again this season.“I don’t know how to answer that question,” Alvarez replied when asked if he thought he would pitch again in 2014.Redmond said Alvarez would not be allowed to pitch again this season if the team feels it could further jeopardize his health.“Those obliques, they’re dicy for sure,” Redmond said. “As much as we need him to pitch, we’re not going to let him go out there and jeopardize himself.”"
While the Marlins chances of making the playoffs are extremely slim, whatever chance they did have takes major shot if Alvarez is unable to pitch again this season.
Alvarez has been the best Marlins pitcher all season long, posting 2.88 ERA and a 3.64 FIP in 159 1/3 innings in 26 starts. Alvarez has fought off one ailment after another in this long season. Which is why his injury news yesterday was not of shock to anyone that has followed the Marlins this season.
If Alvarez is truly done for the season, the Marlins could turn to Brad Hand to fill his rotation spot for the rest of the season. Which would probably be disastrous at this point, as Hand has proven he is not a viable starter in the majors.
Rather, the Marlins should turn to top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney and let him finish the season in the majors to work out his kinks for the 2015 season and beyond, when he should become a major part of the Marlins franchise.
Hopefully the news on Alvarez is good and he can pitch again this season. However, with his injury riddled season, I’d be content with the Marlins just resting him for the rest of the season. The best has yet to come for Alvarez and the Marlins shouldn’t risk that for a season that’s going nowhere.