Fernandez's dominance yields April hardware

Marlins ace named NL Pitcher of the Month after going 4-1 with 55 strikeouts

Fernandez's dominance yields April hardware

MIAMI -- Every time Jose Fernandez takes the mound, something special may happen. When you string a bunch of starts together, you have the makings of a collective award.

On Monday, Fernandez received just that.

Fernandez, the Marlins' ace, was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for April.

In six March/April outings, Fernandez went 4-1 and led the Majors with 55 strikeouts. He was tied for third among NL pitchers in wins, while his 1.59 ERA (seven earned runs in 39 2/3 innings) was the fourth-best mark in the league.

Fernandez ranked fourth among qualifying pitchers in batting average against (.174) while walking just eight to post a 6.88 strikeout-to-walk ratio (sixth best in the NL).

"What could you really say about that month that he had?" Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "That was really unbelievable. Everybody at the beginning of the year was wondering how this guy was going to do in his second season. He pretty much answered that."

After becoming only the second pitcher to earn an Opening Day victory after winning the Rookie of the Year Award the previous season, Fernandez was named co-Player of the Week for the first week of the season.

At home, Fernandez takes his game to an even higher level, as he went 3-0 with a 0.33 ERA (one earned run in 27 2/3 innings).

For his career, he is 12-0 in 20 starts at Marlins Park.

Fernandez, 21, gave praise to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, his teammates and coaching staff.

"It means a lot," the hard-throwing right-hander said. "And the way we're playing, it's even better. I told Salty this is his accomplishment. This is the team's accomplishment. This is the coaches' accomplishment. It's exciting."

Twice in 2013, Fernandez was the NL Rookie of the Month (July and August). This is his first Pitcher of the Month award.

In the American League, Oakland's Sonny Gray received the top pitching honor.

During his impressive first month, Fernandez set a club record for consecutive home starts without a loss to begin a career. It's the second time that's occurred in the modern era. David Palmer went 12-0 for Montreal in his first 21 home starts from 1979-84.

With Fernandez at the top of the rotation, the Marlins are starting to get on a roll. The team feels better days are ahead.

"Hopefully, there are going to be a lot more individual accomplishments, and a lot more team accomplishments," Fernandez said.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.