Erick Fedde was winless in three starts since being recalled to the majors in mid-July (and winless in his previous seven starts overall) heading into his outing against Atlanta’s Braves on July 30th, though he’d put up a 2.63 ERA (9 ER in 13 2⁄3 IP) over that stretch, but Fedde gave up nine runs on nine hits and four walks in a 3 2⁄3-inning start against Washington’s NL East rivals at home in Nationals Park.
“Fedde had a bad night, didn’t attack the zone and he needs to get better,” Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies last week, while acknowledging that Fedde had been pretty good before the rough outing against the Braves.
“Don’t forget,” Rizzo said, “Fedde threw a two-or-three hitter, and a one-run game, a six-inning start against the Orioles, [and] he gave up one run against the Rockies the start before this one,” the GM added, while noting that the 2014 1st Round pick needed, “to perform better, there’s no doubt about.”
“He tweaked his mechanics a little bit,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters last night before the start of the series opener in San Francisco’s Oracle Park, “... kind of getting his tempo a little bit better, so we’ll see what happens.
“The biggest thing for Fedde is to get ahead and work to stay ahead. We talked about a lot of times he gets to 0-2, 1-2, and just try to finish batters off batters off in four pitches or less, and we’re hoping that he does that tonight.”
Fedde got off to a good start in San Francisco, holding the Giants off the board and allowing just four hits in four innings to keep the Nationals ahead 1-0 after they scored one on right-hander Jeff Samardzija in the top of the third.
It was 3-0 in the fifth when Fedde worked around a two-out single in a 14-pitch frame which left him at 63 total, or an average of 12.6 pitches per inning and 3.31 per at bat in the first 19 at bats of the game, just where Martinez wanted him.
A 12-pitch sixth in which he worked around a two-out single left Fedde with 75 pitches thrown to the 23 batters he faced (3.26 per hitter).
In spite of the relatively low pitch count, the Nationals went to the bullpen in the seventh, and Daniel Hudson, Fernando Rodney, and Sean Doolittle completed the shutout in what ended up a 4-0 win.
Erick Fedde’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 75 P, 47 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
“Strikes, strikes, strikes,” Martinez said when asked about Fedde’s outing after the game.
“The ball was down, [and] he’s really good when he’s down. He’s really effective. We said that before. He can elevate on times when he gets to two strikes, but he’s effective when he’s down.”
“I needed a bounceback,” Fedde told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “Just to mentally be there.”
Fedde threw 39 sinkers overall, leaning heavily on the pitch, with 14 cutters, ten curveballs, six splitters, and six four-seam fastballs.
“To me that’s who he is,” his manager added.
“His curveball was good, and he used it. I mean, I thought him and [catcher Kurt] Suzuki worked really well together today, and used his curveball at the right moments.”
And his pace on the mound? Did the tweaks he made and the focus on working at a quicker pace pay off?
“His tempo was better,” Martinez said, “he was getting on the mound, getting ready to go, and when he was good at the beginning, that’s what he did. When he starts going bad, he starts — you can see him, he starts pacing around the mind, taking his time — and for me, that’s just he just starts overthinking.”