WASHINGTON, D.C.: Following his August 6th outing against the Chicago Cubs on the road in Wrigley Field, a tough assignment for the 24-year-old, 2014 1st Round pick in his second start in the majors, Erick Fedde returned to Triple-A, where he made two starts (11 H, 5 ER in 13 IP) before he was called back up to face the New York Mets on Sunday afternoon in the nation’s capital.
Dusty Baker told reporters earlier this past weekend he hoped Max Scherzer would be back for one of Sunday’s games, but acknowledged after Saturday’s matchup with the Mets that it was not going to happen, though he said he hoped Scherzer, who has been dealing with a neck issue, could start on Monday.
Fedde gave up eight hits (three of them home runs) and four runs total, walking four and striking out seven when he faced the Cubs last month, impressing his manager, and his catcher, Matt Wieters, with his effort and stuff.
“Fedde battled for us today,” Wieters told MASN’s Dan Kolko in a post game interview.
“Had a couple of home runs, but other than that he threw the ball great.”
“Fedde had a very good breaking ball from the beginning,” Baker said, “where last time he didn’t have a very good breaking ball.”
“Wieters directed him through the game,” Baker added, “... and he continues to use all his pitches, not just his fastball like most young pitchers do, and like I said, he had a very good slider.”
With Wieters behind the plate again, Fedde got off to a shaky start Sunday afternoon in the first game of the Nationals’ doubleheader with the Mets, with an infield single, HBP and three-run home run from the first three batters he faced, 3-0, as Asdrubal Cabrera unloaded on a 2-0 changeup to put the Mets on top early against the rookie right-hander.
Fedde walked Cabrera the second time he faced him in the third, and gave up a two-run blast to the next batter in line, Wilmer Flores, who hit a 91 mph, 1-0 changeup out to left field for a 5-0 lead over the Nationals.
Up to 89 pitches after five innings, Fedde, who normally throws a mid-90s heater (94 MPH AVG), with a low 90s changeup, was sitting around 88-90 with both offerings causing MLB’s GameDay and the Nationals Park scoreboard operators fits, leading to an odd number of pitches being labeled changeups.
Approaching 100 pitches in the sixth, Fedde gave up back-to-back, two-out singles and a walk that loaded the bases and pushed him up to 107 overall.
He fell behind 3-0 to Brandon Nimmo, worked the count full, and got a called strike three with an 89 mph fastball/changeup to end the threat and keep it a 5-1 game.
Erick Fedde’s Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 2 HRs, 112 P, 67 S, 7/4 GO/FO.
Did the Nationals notice his drop in velocity? Yes, as Baker noted in his post game interview, after what ended up a 6-5 loss to the Mets.
But in spite of the fact that Fedde’s velo dipped considerably, the Nats took him to 112 pitches, and he managed to be fairly effective after the rocky start.
“I couldn’t tell between his changeup and his fastballs,” Baker said after the game.
“They were saying changeup on the board up there, but it looked like they were fastballs to me. He wasn’t throwing as hard as he usually does.”
Asked if that was a cause for concern, the veteran skipper said he wasn’t sure what to make of it.
“I don’t know. I think he has under 100 innings this year,” Baker told reporters, “... so I don’t know what the problem is.”
For his part, Fedde said he felt fine, and was actually more comfortable on the mound than he had been in his previous two outings.
“Much more relaxed, it was definitely — felt normal,” he explained.
“My stuff wasn’t, I felt, as good today, as it’s been the past two, but as a sense of like composure, I felt much better.”
Did he notice his own velocity was down?
“I don’t know, my stuff just wasn’t what it’s used to today,” Fedde said. “I wasn’t really checking the velos and whatnot, but I was more worried about my command, my fastball was up a lot today, and got a way with a few and a couple times the ball got out of the park.”
If his velocity was down, which it was, would it be a cause for concern for the righty?
“I’m not too worried about it,” Fedde said. “I think it’s something that it’s late in the year, maybe just the body is a little sore, a little tired, but I think it will be right back up there.”