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Erick Fedde on one to grow on in the Nationals’ loss to the Mets on Sunday

Erick Fedde struggled with his command and threw a lot of pitches in a fairly short outing against the Mets on Sunday afternoon in Nationals Park.

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MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

In three September starts before Sunday afternoon’s against the New York Mets in Nationals Park, Erick Fedde put up a 3.60 ERA, eight walks, 22 Ks, and a .154/.267/.269 line against in 15 innings pitched, with his last outing a 4 13-inning, 93-pitch outing against Miami’s Marlins which saw the 2014 1st Round pick surrender two hits, four walks, and two earned runs.

Fedde talked after that outing about his lack of command causing him problems.

“It was mostly my glove side stuff,” Fedde told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.

“Slider was missing arm side all day and then yanking the fastball. [Davey Martinez] said it, don’t enjoy walking people. It’s not fun.”

Fedde gave up a run in the top of the first on Sunday afternoon, with Amed Rosario and Jeff McNeil connecting for back-to-back singles in the first two at bats before a double steal and a sac fly to left field by Jay Bruce made it a 1-0 game.

MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

It was still 1-0 Mets in the third when back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases with no one out, but a 5-2-3 DP and groundout to second got Fedde out of a jam and kept it to a one-run deficit.

Fedde gave up a leadoff double by Todd Frazier in the Mets’ fourth, then issued a one-out walk, his fourth of the game, on his 80th pitch, putting runners on the corners before the Nationals’ skipper, Davey Martinez, came out to get him.

Both runners he left on came around to score after Wander Suero took over on the mound.

Erick Fedde’s Line: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 Ks, 80 P, 47 S, 3/3 GO/FO.

After what ended up an 8-6 loss, Fedde and Martinez talked about what led to the starter’s struggles.

“He just didn’t throw strikes,” the manager said, summing it up succinctly. “At one point he threw more balls than strikes, so he just couldn’t find the strike zone today.”

Fedde’s averaged 94 pitches per start since returning from a DL stint for inflammation in his right shoulder and has thrown a total of 19 13 innings over his four outings since coming off the Disabled List on September 4th.

What’s leading to the brief outings and the high pitch counts?

“For me,” Martinez said, “it’s just working ahead in counts, pitch efficiency, he’s got to get better at that. He tends to like — a lot of times — get ahead of hitters and just can’t put them away, and next thing you know he’s going to 2-2, 3-2, so we’ve just got to find ways to get him to put hitters away, whether he’s nitpicking after he gets to two strikes, but he’s got to be able to finish hitters off.”

“I’d say more falling behind,” Fedde told reporters after the game, “... it puts you in tough spots if you’re pitching from behind all day. Last couple starts I haven’t been great about that, so I’m just going to have to get ahead a little quicker.”

With the end of his second season playing a role in the Nationals’ rotation approaching, the starter, who’s dealt with injuries in each of the last two years, was asked what he would take with him from 2018?

“Just another building block,” Fedde said. “I like to think this year has been much more of a growing experience and something where I’m seeing ups and downs and I’m not where I want to be but I can see that I’m getting close and just trying to take this year one step at a time and finish strong here at the end and hopefully just be a better pitcher for this team in the long-run.”

The ups and downs, where he’s effective at times, and encouraged, then struggles to put hitters away, Fedde admitted, have been a little frustrating.

“It comes in waves of both,” he explained, “there’s times where I’m like, ‘I can pitch at this level, I can be successful and I think I can dominate,’ and then there’s times of just, ‘What are you doing out there?’ but I think that comes with the learning curve. And I just need to make sure that isn’t a very long learning curve.”