A moment many Miami Marlins fans have waited for is here. On Thursday afternoon, Jose Fernandez will return to the mound for his first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery last season. Fernandez tore a ligament in his elbow in May of 2014 and was lost of the season after only starting eight games. He has not pitched since May 9, but will be the starter against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday.
Secondary market demand is not indicative of the meaning of Fernandez’s return for many fans, but Marlins tickets on the secondary market have rarely been highly demanded in general. Currently, Marlins tickets against the Giants on Thursday have an average price of $75.41. That is, however, 17.5% more expensive than Wednesday night’s game featuring the same two teams. The get-in price on Thursday afternoon is $23.
During Fernandez’s rookie season in 2013, he went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA, and 187 strikeouts in 172.2 innings. Those numbers were enough for him to be voted into the All-Star Game, third in National League Cy Young Award voting and he won the NL Rookie of the Year. Fernandez was on pace to have an even better year in his rookie season, improving in both strikeout and walk rate. With his performance, even in just 36 career starts, Fernandez had established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Miami currently sits 11.5 games out of first place in the National League East. They’re also 10 games out of a Wild Card spot. Even a stellar Fernandez performance throughout the remainder of the season would be unlikely to pull the Marlins back in the playoff race. However, every fifth day Miami fans will have an excellent reason to watch the Marlins. That five day clock finally starts on Thursday.