Jose Fernandez is about to make history for the Miami Marlins.
The New York Mets would like to limit his entries into the record books.
Scheduled to make his major league debut, Fernandez will become the youngest pitcher in Marlins history Sunday when he attempts to cool the hot-hitting New York Mets in the finale of this three-game series at Citi Field.
Fernandez is the youngest pitcher in the majors at 20 years, 250 days, and his ascension to the majors has been sudden and rather surprising after he was selected 14th overall in the 2011 draft - three years after defecting from Cuba
The right-hander hasn't pitched above Class A, but he's been tremendous through 25 starts over the past two years, going 14-1 with a 1.75 ERA with 158 strikeouts in 134 innings.
Now, he's in position to become the youngest pitcher in team history to win a game, a record held by Ryan Dempster since June 28, 1998, when he was 21 years, 56 days.
"I think he is excited," manager Mike Redmond told the team's official website. "Probably a little nervous. Get him through that first inning, and he will think, 'Hey, this is what I've done my whole life.' Get him out there and just execute the game plan. I'm excited to get to watch him.
"With a young guy, you just stay positive. We're not going to give him too much information. When I was catching somebody's major league debut, I gave them just the basics."
The Mets were the victims the last time a 20-year-old won a game in the majors, when Atlanta's Julio Teheran beat New York at 20 years, 224 days on Sept. 8, 2011.
The Mets, though, are among the most productive offensive teams in the majors so far, scoring 32 runs through five games while connecting for seven homers - at least one in each contest.
John Buck has been a major contributor, going 8 for 19 with two homers and nine RBIs after batting a career-low .192 with Miami last year. The catcher drove in four runs Saturday, helping New York to a 7-3 win after his team lost the opener 7-5.
Perhaps fortunately for Fernandez, Buck is scheduled to get a day off.
"He can use a blow like everybody else," manager Terry Collins told the team's official website.
David Wright is looking to build on his best performance of the young season as he collected three hits with an RBI, two runs and his third stolen base Saturday. The All-Star third baseman totaled three hits over the first four games.
He's a career .324 hitter against Miami, and has a .372 average over the past 23 home meetings.
The Mets have won 12 of the last 16 versus the Marlins at Citi Field and will try to keep that success going by turning to Aaron Laffey, who will be recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas.
A strong performance could keep the left-hander in the rotation since Shaun Marcum is on the disabled list with a neck strain.
Laffey went 4-6 with a 4.56 ERA in 22 games - 16 starts - with Toronto last year, and he's never faced the Marlins.
Miami's Giancarlo Stanton is still seeking his first homer while going 4 for 18 with seven strikeouts. He didn't hit one out until his 20th game last year before finishing with a career-high 37.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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