Jose Fernandez likely only has two more chances to further his case for NL Rookie of the Year.
The Washington Nationals surely wish one of them didn't have to be against them.
Arguably the majors' top pitcher over the past two months, Fernandez could get in the way of Washington's last-ditch run at a playoff spot Friday night while inching closer to his innings limit with the Miami Marlins.
The Nationals (71-68) head to Miami facing a big uphill climb if they're to catch Cincinnati for the NL's second wild-card spot, but there are no teams in front of them.
"We don't think we're out of it yet," said manager Davey Johnson, whose club has baseball's third-best record over the past four weeks at 17-8.
A three-game set against a Marlins team with a major league-worst 9-21 record since Aug. 3 seems to play in Johnson's favor, but winning the opener won't be easy.
Fernandez (10-6, 2.33 ERA) has a major league-low 1.58 ERA since the start of July, striking out 89 in 74 innings. He yi...