Posted by Mike Rice
Miami Marlins right-handed pitcher Jose Fernandez and Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon have been named National League Co-Players of the Week for the period ending April 6, 2014. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
Fernandez, the 2013 N.L. Rookie of the Year, opened his sophomore campaign with a perfect 2-0 record in his two starts last week. The pair of wins tied for the most among Major League pitchers while his 17 strikeouts tied Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto for top mark in the Senior Circuit.
Fernandez allowed just one earned run on the week, posting a 0.71 ERA (12.2 IP), which was the eighth-lowest among qualifying N.L. pitchers. In his first career Opening Day start on March 31st, the 21-year-old fanned nine Rockies hitter and allowed just a single run over 6.0 innings of work to earn the win in a 10-1 decision. In doing so, Fernandez became just the second pitcher to win an Opening Day start after being voted Rookie of the Year in the previous season. The only other pitcher to do so was San Francisco Giants hurler John Montefusco, who won Rookie of the Year in 1975 and was San Francisco’s Opening Day hurler to start the 1976 season.
According to Elias, Fernandez also made history by joining Jered Weaver of the Angels (2012) as only the second pitcher in the last 16 years (and 10th in Major League history) to collect nine strikeouts without issuing a walk in an Opening Day outing. On April 5th, the Villa Clara, Cuba native tossed 6.2 shutout innings while fanning eight in a 5-0 win over the San Diego Padres.
With the win, Fernandez improved his Marlins Park record to 11-0 in 17 starts, extending his club record for consecutive home starts without a loss to begin a career. This is the third career Player of the Week honor for Fernandez, having won previously for the week ending August 25, 2013 (co-winner with Chicago’s Jeff Samardzija) and the week ending July 28, 2013 (co-winner with teammate Steve Cishek).
Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon led the Major Leagues in hitting last week, posting a .542 batting average (13-for-24) in seven games, while his .560 on-base percentage was tied for first. In the N.L., Blackmon was tied for second in hits, ranked third in slugging (.792), tied for fifth in total bases (19) and stolen bases (2) and tied for 10th in runs scored (5) and RBI (6). The 24-year-old collected nine hits over consecutive games on April 4th and 5th to tie Juan Pierre’s franchise record (set 9/20-21/2012), helping the Rockies earn back-to-back wins against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks. Blackmon’s 6-for-6 effort in the April 4th contest was also a record-tying performance, matching Andres Galarraga’s single-game franchise mark (7/3/1995 vs. HOU).
The Texas native became just the 100th Major Leaguer since 1914 to collect six-or-more hits in a single game. Blackmon, whose six-hit day included three doubles, also became the first player to have at least six hits with three doubles in a single game since Dick Groat accomplished the feat (5/13/1960). Selected by the Rockies in the second round of the 2008 Draft, Blackmon made his first career Opening Day start on March 31st after spending parts of three seasons on the Rockies’ Major League roster. This is his second career weekly award, having won previously for the week ending September 22, 2013.
Other noteworthy performances last week included San Francisco’s Brandon Belt (.323, 10 H, 4 HR, 7 RBI, .710 SLG) and Angel Pagan (.419, 4 R, 13 H, 8 RBI, .613 SLG, .455 OBP); Emilio Bonifacio (.500, 14 H, 5 R, 2 2B, 4 SB, .571 SLG, .548 OBP) of the Chicago Cubs; Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez (.346, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 9 H, 7 R, 2 SB, .731 SLG, .433 OBP); Miami’s Casey McGehee (.375, 4 2B, 10 RBI, 9 H, .625 SLG, .467 OBP) and Giancarlo Stanton (.345, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 10 H, 7 R, 2 SB, .655 SLG, .406 OBP); Arizona’s Mark Trumbo (.346, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 6 R, 9 H, .846 SLG, .414 OBP) and Wade Miley (2-0, 3.60 ERA, 7 SO, 15.0 IP); Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 12.2 IP, 7 SO); and Zack Greinke (2-0, 3.27 ERA, 11.0 IP, 13 SO) of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In recognition of their National League Player of the Week Awards, Jose Fernandez and Charlie Blackmon will each be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.