Over the course of a disappointing season in Miami, National League Rookie of the Year candidate Jose Fernandez has been one of the few bright spots.
The right-hander's 1.64 ERA since June 1 is the second-lowest in the Major Leagues, better than anyone not named Clayton Kershaw. Fernandez is also holding opponents to a .168 average during that span, the best in the Majors.
Fernandez will look to pick up his fifth straight win on Saturday against the Rockies, in what could be his last home start of the season. The 21-year-old has pitched 145 2/3 innings, and the team said before the season that he would pitch a maximum of about 170.
"I learned a lot, and so many things at different times and talking to people," said Fernandez, adding that he is unsure whether this will be his final start at Marlins Park. "Learning about myself and the game, it's been amazing. It's been a good year, learning a lot and hopefully I'm going to keep learning and keep getting better."
Fernandez will face a weary Rockies team that is 24-43 on the road this season and had lost five of six before coming from behind to win Friday's opener, 3-2. The Rockies' bullpen had been shaky before two scoreless innings on Friday, and closer Rafael Betancourt left Thursday's game with a sprained right elbow. But manager Walt Weiss said that he still has confidence in his relievers, though Betancourt's injury will force him to make some adjustments.
"We've got some options, but we might have to be a little more creative than when Raffy's around," Weiss said. "We might give our starters a little longer leash, but you still want to have the mentality to protect our starters, but we've also got to use common sense, too. There's times when you have to protect the bullpen and manage accordingly."
Jeff Manship will make his fourth start for the Rockies. He is 0-3 with a 7.80 ERA and has allowed at least five earned runs in each of his last two starts.
Marlins: Team continues to monitor Polanco
Infielder Placido Polanco, who was hit on the helmet by a pitch on Aug. 16 against the Giants, remained on the seven-day concussion list on Friday, the day he was eligible to be activated. He is being monitored by the Marlins on a daily basis and recently started riding a stationary bike at Marlins Park.
"We're not going to rush him or push him or anything," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "It's all going to rely on how he feels from day to day and how we progress. We're going to take it slow. There's no reason to rush him."
• With two hits on Friday, infielder Donovan Solano improved to 8-for-16 with a double, home run and three RBIs in his last four games against the Rockies.
Rockies: Bittersweet role for Brothers
Rex Brothers has wanted to step up and become the team's closer, but not at the expense of the incumbent Betancourt.
Brothers is 2-0 with a 1.48 ERA and 12 saves in 13 chances this season. While he has shown that he is capable of locking down a game in the ninth, he also has mixed emotions about his new role because of Betancourt's injury.
"It won't be the same," Brothers said of his veteran teammate. "He's meant a lot to me ever since I've been here. Hopefully, he can rejoin us soon. It's tough not seeing him down there [in the bullpen]. He sits in the same spot every day, and it's definitely not the same without him, just the small stuff and conversations I have with him."
• Before Friday's win, the Rockies were 5-54 this season when trailing after seven innings. The Marlins are 31-1 when leading after seven.
Tom Schad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.