Erick Fedde was winless in four starts with a 5.49 ERA, 11 walks, 10 Ks, and a .286/.375/.481 line against in 19 2⁄3 innings over that stretch before he was optioned to the minors after a five hit, five walk, two-run appearance against the Philadelphia Phillies in which he threw a total of 84 total pitches in just 3 2⁄3 IP.
Fedde, 26, returned to the big league rotation with six strong against the Baltimore Orioles last week in Oriole Park at Camden Yards, holding the O’s to a run on five hits in six innings in which he threw just 66 pitches.
“He kept the ball down, he threw strikes, and he was good, he was effective,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters after what ended up a 9-2 loss for the Nationals in which the starter received no decision.
Fedde was lifted after 66 pitches because he hadn’t started in 14 days prior to that outing, but he said he felt good on the mound.
“I was pretty happy with the way it went,” he said. “Able to get through six with the lead is always nice.”
Going into yesterday’s start against the Colorado Rockies, Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN’s Sports Junkies that Fedde would not be limited in any way other than by how successful he was on the mound.
“No pitch count on Fedde,” Rizzo explained. “He’ll pitch until the manager thinks he’s had enough and give us the best chance to win a game. But he’s thrown upwards of over 100 pitches in a game in Double-A and in the big leagues. There’s no pitch count on him and we’ll run him out there until Davey thinks he has to pull him to win the game and he’ll make those decisions, but it won’t be based on any kind of pitch count.”
Fedde tossed three scoreless on 58 pitches to start the afternoon, but gave up a leadoff double and a run on a sac fly in a 21-pitch fourth that pushed him up to 79 pitches, and when his spot came up in the bottom of the fourth, the bases were loaded with two down so the Nats’ skipper went with a pinch hitter, Gerardo Parra, and got one run on a bases-loaded walk in what ended up a 3-2 win.
Erick Fedde’s Line: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 79 P, 47 S, 5/1 GO/FO.
“Fedde had close to 80 pitches,” Martinez explained after the game. “It didn’t look like [Jon] Gray was throwing the ball well at that time, and struggled a little bit in that inning, so I said, ‘Why not?’ maybe a base hit gets us two runs.
“And they had all those lefties lined up so I thought that was a good spot for [Matt] Grace,” in the top of the fifth.
“I wish I could’ve given us more innings,” Fedde told reporters, “... but just the situation came up where I don’t swing it too well, so I don’t blame them for going with Parra. But yeah, I was able to keep the game close, and keep the guys in it.”
“It wasn’t ideal,” he said after the abbreviated outing, “but the situation came up where we needed a big hit and it ended up being the right move, for sure.”
Fedde added that he hoped he’d made another good impression while he was on the hill, as the Nationals continue to try to settle on a fifth starter.
“Every time I go out there I’m looking at it as an audition, and hopefully even if I was to get the fifth spot I’d even continue to do that, and today had all my pitches going, and think it just went well,” he said.
Martinez explained before the game that he would like to solidify the back end of the Nats’ rotation with a regular option, but hadn’t settled on any one pitcher at that point.
“Before [Austin] Voth went on the IL, we liked what he was doing. He was the fifth starter. Now all of a sudden we’ve got Fedde who threw well, hopefully he throws well today, and [Joe] Ross, who threw well yesterday. So, it’s nice to have options, but we’ll see how these guys throw here in the next — today, Fedde, if we have to use Ross again, we’ll see how he throws again in his next outing, but these guys all know that they’re in the mix. At this point we’re trying to win ballgames every day, so whoever is going to help us, that’s who’s going to pitch.”
Fedde was optioned to Double-A Harrisburg after the day half of the doubleheader.