Roberto Hernández (starting pitcher)

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Roberto Hernández
Roberto Hernández on April 16, 2013.jpg
Philadelphia Phillies – No. 27
Starting pitcher
Born: (1980-08-30) August 30, 1980 (age 33)[a]
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
April 15, 2006 for the Cleveland Indians
Career statistics
(through April 20, 2014)
Win–loss record 60–82
Earned run average 4.69
Strikeouts 700
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Roberto Heredia Hernández (born August 30, 1980)[1] is a Dominican professional baseball pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball. He was a regular part of the Cleveland Indians' starting rotation for six years under the name of Fausto Carmona, which he had used to obtain a visa to pitch in the United States. After his true name and age were revealed (he had claimed to be three years younger than he is), he missed much of the 2012 season due to lack of a valid visa, followed by a suspension from MLB for identity fraud. He returned as a regular starting pitcher with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013.

He is known for his hard sinker and exhibiting good control of his pitches. He did not throw exceptionally hard when he debuted in the minor leagues at age 21, but has since developed a fastball that can reach 97 mph. He also throws a slider and a changeup, but relies mostly on his hard sinker to get many ground ball outs.

Baseball career[edit]

Minor leagues[edit]

Hernández was named the Indians' 2003 Minor League Player of the Year (receiving the "Lou Boudreau Award").[2]

Hernández was the first non-rehab start player and full-time roster member of the Lake County Captains to play a game in the big leagues.

Cleveland Indians[edit]

2006 season[edit]

On April 15, 2006, Hernández made his debut when he started the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. He pitched 6 innings giving up one earned run and striking out four. He earned the win, which was his only win of the season.

On July 20, 2006, the Indians traded closer Bob Wickman to the Atlanta Braves, and the Indians chose Hernández to fill the role. In the span of seven days (from July 30 through August 5), Hernández recorded four losses and three blown saves for the Indians, including walk-off home runs surrendered to Boston's David Ortiz and Detroit's Iván Rodríguez. Hernández lost the closer's role to Tom Mastny soon thereafter.

After the closer experiment, Hernández was demoted to the Buffalo Bisons, the Indians' Class Triple-A affiliate, where he was placed back in a starter's role. He was promoted to Cleveland again in September, and finished the season as a starter. Hernández ended the 2006 season with a record of 1–10 and a 5.42 ERA.

Hernández pitching in his MLB debut

2007 season[edit]

In 2007, Hernández was originally slated to be the Indians' spot starter and to start the season at the team's minor league affiliate, Triple-A Buffalo. However, after Cliff Lee went down with an abdominal strain in spring training that would force him to miss at least the first three weeks of the season, the Indians gave Hernández the opportunity to start in Lee's place. In his first start of the season on April 13, the Chicago White Sox battered him for six earned runs in 4 13 innings.

Hernández quickly rebounded, holding the New York Yankees' potent offense to just 2 ER in 6 IP in his next start. He received a no decision, however, when Joe Borowski allowed six runs in the ninth inning to give the Yankees the win. Hernández settled into a groove and won his next five starts, allowing just 5 ER over 39 IP. In the streak, Hernández beat two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana of the Minnesota Twins twice and in one of his starts against the Twins, center fielder Torii Hunter was quoted saying, "I can't wait until we face normal pitchers. This guy's sinker is practically unhittable." The first victory came on April 24 in Minnesota, when Hernández allowed just 2 ER over 7 23 IP. The second start came at home on May 17, when Hernández tossed his first career complete game shutout, scattering just four hits along the way.

On July 25, Hernández tossed eight shutout innings against the Boston Red Sox in a 1–0 Indians win. The victory capped a 5–0 July for Hernández. Hernández went on to go 19–8 with a 3.06 ERA and 215 innings pitched for the 2007.

Hernández received serious consideration for the AL Cy Young award, along with teammate CC Sabathia, Boston's Josh Beckett and the Angels' John Lackey. True to his dominant 2007 regular season form, Hernández, in his 1st career postseason game in Game 2 of the 2007 ALDS against the Yankees and Andy Pettitte, allowed 1 earned run on 3 hits over 9 innings in an extra-inning win for Cleveland. He finished fourth in the 2007 Cy Young vote.

On October 20, Hernández was battered by the Red Sox in Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS, surrendering seven runs in two plus innings. He was knocked out of the game in the third inning of the Indians' 12–2 loss to the Sox at Fenway Park.

2008 season[edit]

Hernández (Carmona) pitching for the Cleveland Indians in 2008

On April 10, 2008, the Indians signed Hernández to a four-year $15 million contract extension through 2011 with three individual club options through 2014. If all options had been exercised, Hernández would have made $43 million, with another $5 million available in escalators.[3]

Hernández started the 2008 season off strong before going down on May 24 with a left hip strain after running to cover first base. He stayed on the disabled list for 2 months before making his return to the starting rotation on July 26.

On September 19 against Detroit, Hernández hit Gary Sheffield with a pitch. The two exchanged words as Sheffield walked to first base with his bat tucked under this arm. Before the next pitch, Hernández made a pick-off throw to first base. Sheffield again started exchanging words with Hernández, and this time charged the mound inducing a bench-clearing brawl. Hernández was seen landing several punches to Sheffield's head, which left him bloodied. Hernández and Sheffield were both ejected, along with Indians catcher Víctor Martínez and Tigers second baseman Plácido Polanco.[4]

2009 season[edit]

Hernández had a subpar season, starting 24 games for Cleveland, going 5–12 with 6.32 ERA. He struck out 79 batters in 125.1 innings. The Indians finished the year 4th in the AL Central with 65–97 record.

2010 season[edit]

Hernández improved dramatically from 2009 and was honored with his 1st All Star selection. He had a 13–14 record with a 3.77 ERA, while striking out 124 batters in 210.1 innings.

2011 season[edit]

On February 28, 2011, Indians Manager Manny Acta announced that Hernández had been selected as his starter for Cleveland's season opener against the Chicago White Sox. The April 1 start would be his first on opening day.[5]

In front of a sellout crowd of 41,721 fans at Cleveland's ballpark Progressive Field, Hernández started the 2011 season for the Indians.[6][7] Hernández posted the worst opening day start in Major League history, as he became the first starting pitcher to allow 10 runs in a team's first game.[8] Hernández was the losing pitcher as he threw 88 pitches over 3.0 innings, allowed 11 hits, surrendered 2 home runs, walked 1, had 10 earned runs and left the game with an earned run average of 30.00.[9] When pulled from the game, he was booed by fans.[10] In that game, he became the first starting pitcher to allow 10 runs in a team's first game in over 60 years. The last pitcher to allow 10-plus runs in an opener was Early Wynn of the Washington Senators who accomplished the feat on April 19, 1948. In that game Wynn surrendered 12 runs but managed to pitch 8 13 innings.[11]

2012 season[edit]

On July 16, Hernández was granted a visa to work in the U.S.[12] On July 21, he began serving a 3-week suspension delivered by the MLB for age and identity fraud.[13] While he served the suspension, Hernandez was allowed to pitch simulated games and in the minors. He rejoined the Indians on August 11. He started his first game since 2011 on August 15 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He ended the season with a 7.53 ERA in 14 13 innings.

Tampa Bay Rays[edit]

Hernández was signed by the Tampa Bay Rays on December 18, 2012 to a 1-year contract. He was named their number 5 starter before the season.[14] He recorded his first career win under his real name on April 21.[15] On July 30, 2013 Hernandez recorded his first complete game with the Rays, a 5-2 defeat of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Philadelphia Phillies[edit]

The Philadelphia Phillies signed Hernández for the 2014 season for $4.5 million.[16]

Name controversy[edit]

In January 2012, Dominican police arrested Hernández after he left the U.S. Consulate, accusing him of using a false identity to obtain a visa. Police reported his real name as Roberto Heredia Hernández, and that he is three years older than he reported.[17][18] The Indians placed Hernández on the restricted list.[19] Officials in both countries received assistance in the case by a woman in the Dominican Republic who claimed she falsified a birth certificate for Hernández in exchange for $26,000, but when Hernandez's father failed to pay her, she contacted the authorities.[12]

Notes[edit]

a Hernandez's reported birth date is currently in question due to suspicions of identity falsification. MLB.com and ESPN.com both list his birth date as August 30, 1980.[1] While he was known as Fausto Carmona, his birth date was given as December 7, 1983.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Roberto Hernandez stats, ESPN.com
  2. ^ "Minor League Player of the Year by Team". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved July 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ Castrovince, Anthony (2008-04-10). "Tribe signs Carmona to long-term deal". MLB.com. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  4. ^ "Indians win with walk-off hit as Hernández, Sheffield brawl". CBSSports.com wire reports. 2008-09-19. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  5. ^ "Fausto Carmona to Start Opening Day". ESPN. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "Chicago 15, Cleveland 10 Box Score". USA Today. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  7. ^ Padilla, Doug. "Buehrle's 9th opener one to remember". ESPN. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Keller, Jim. "Carmona posts worst Opening Day start in MLB history, Indians fall to ChiSox". All Headline News. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  9. ^ "Chi White Sox 15, Cleveland 10 Box Score". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  10. ^ Withers, Tom. "White Sox outslug Indians 15–10". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  11. ^ Phillips. "Fausto Carmona Had A Really Bad Day At The Office". Rumors & Rants. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Hoynes, Paul (21 July 2012). "Cleveland Indians RHP Roberto Hernandez receives U.S. visa; will serve three-week suspension". The Plain Dealer (Cleveland.com). Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "Indians:Hernandez gets visa, suspended 3 weeks". SportsIllustrated.CNN.com. AP. 21 July 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "Rays sign Hernandez, was known as Fausto Carmona". sports.yahoo.com. AP. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  15. ^ "Rays Starter Wins Again, This Time Under Real Name". The New York Times. New York Times. 21 April 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  16. ^ Associated Press (December 12, 2013). "Roberto Hernandez, Phils agree". ESPN.com. Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
  17. ^ Fausto Carmona of Cleveland Indians arrested, accused of using false identity - ESPN
  18. ^ Gleeman, Aaron (January 19, 2012). "Fausto Carmona arrested in Dominican Republic for using false identity". NBC Sports. 
  19. ^ Cleveland Indians place Fausto Carmona on restricted list | MLB.com: News

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Andy Pettitte
American League Pitcher of the month
September 2007
Succeeded by
Cliff Lee