The first three batters Erick Fedde faced in the majors reached base last weekend in his MLB debut against the Colorado Rockies in Nationals Park.
Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu singled and Nolan Arenado walked, but Fedde got a double play grounder out of Gerardo Parra, 1-0, and after an RBI single by Raimel Tapio, 2-0, got a groundout from Carlos Gonzalez to end a 20-pitch first.
Fedde struck out the side on 15 pitches in the Rockies’ second, but the top of the Rockies’ order got to him again in the third with Blackmon (single), LeMahieu (RBI double), and Arenado (single), all reaching base before another run scored on a 6-3 double play off Parra’s bat.
Four more hits (including RBI singles from Blackmon and Arenado) and three runs in a 28-pitch fourth ended Fedde’s outing.
The 2014 first-round pick gave up 10 hits, two walks, and seven earned runs in an 87-pitch start in what ended up a 10-6 loss.
“I think what he gave us was better than his results were,” Dusty Baker told reporters after the game.
“I’m definitely not happy with the results,” Fedde said.
“I felt like my stuff was pretty good, and I guess a lot of balls landed in good spots for them, but it’s one where I still need to make better pitches and get better results.”
“That was his first time out and if we had to pick a first time out for him, probably wouldn’t have picked Colorado,” Baker added.
“That was a tough assignment, but I think he’ll be better next time.”
It’s not going to get any easier for Fedde in start No. 2. With Gio Gonzalez placed on paternity list, Max Scherzer pushed back to Monday after dealing with neck spasms during his last start, and Stephen Strasburg (right elbow nerve impingement) on the DL, the Nationals, who optioned Fedde back to Triple-A earlier this week, called their top pitching prospect back up for a second start...
... against the Chicago Cubs.
Imposing as they may be, the Cubs did, however, have the second-lowest average (.239) against right-handers in the NL heading into Saturday’s matchup, the third-lowest on-base percentage (.317), and were ninth in the National League in slugging percentage (.422) vs right-handers, though they also had the fourth-highest home run total (110) against righties... and added one more off Edwin Jackson.
It’s another tough assignment for the 24-year-old right-hander, in Fedde’s second MLB start. No pressure, kid. Just lead the Nationals to a series win over the defending World Series champs.