Erick Fedde was pressed into action last night when Stephen Strasburg was a late scratch with a nerve issue/impingement in his right wrist/thumb.
Fedde, 27, made the Opening Day roster as a long reliever in the bullpen, but his manager, Davey Martinez, said he thought the right-hander was stretched out enough to get through the outing against the New York Yankees’ lineup.
“Fedde was our long guy, and he was stretched out pretty good,” Martinez explained.
“He’s actually coming off a day where he backed up Strasburg in Baltimore, so this would have been his day, honestly, to start. So, hopefully like I said, he’ll go out there and do his thing.”
After working around two errors in the first, getting an inning-ending 5-4-3 DP out of Yankee slugger Giancarlo Stanton to escape the opening frame, Fedde retired the side in order in a 14-pitch, 1-2-3 second, striking out two of the three batters he faced, with good stuff early in the outing (five swinging, seven called strikes). Then he came back out for the third with a 3-0 lead and gave up a run when Trea Turner booted a grounder at short, a ball got away from Fedde on the throw back to the mound, and, one out later, DJ LeMahieu hit an RBI single to left field, 3-1.
Giancarlo Stanton demolished a 3-0 fastball from Fedde in the top of the fourth, sending a no-doubter to deep left, 3-2, but the righty worked his way out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam to keep the Nationals ahead, and Victor Robles hit a two-run blast in the bottom of the inning to make it 5-2 Nationals after four.
Erick Fedde’s Line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 68 P, 42 S, 9/1 GO/FO.
The Nationals’ bullpen combined to throw five scoreless innings in relief, and the home team took the second game of the three-game set in the nation’s capital, 9-2 final.
Tanner Rainey handled the fifth, Ryne Harper threw two scoreless, James Bourque got the club through the eighth, and Kyle Finnegan locked it down in his major league debut.
“We wanted to keep [Fedde] around 70-75 pitches,” Martinez said after the game.
“He got six outs in the first inning. Our defense was not very good, but he threw the ball really well.
“I thought he got a little gassed there in the fourth inning. So the game was close, and I liked Rainey in that block of guys right there, and he came in and threw the ball well.”
With a little time to prepare, Fedde, who did have an idea he might have to go, was able to make the most of the opportunity.
“We kind of gave him a heads up two days ago,” Martinez explained, “... and then we gave him the definitive yesterday morning. He was prepared. Like I said, he’s been throwing the ball good in this short version of Spring Training. He threw the ball good in Spring Training in March. We liked what we saw, and he went out there today and competed.”
“It was just one of those things,” Fedde said of being called on to start. “I had luckily been throwing the same day as Stras, so my routine wasn’t too messed up, but it was just one of those things of making sure I went through — the idea of going through the lineup multiple times instead of one out of the bullpen and today we broke down the hitters pretty well today with [Kurt Suzuki] and I think it paid off.”
It’s not anything really different for Fedde, of course, who’s now made 35 appearances and 26 starts in his major league career.
“If anything this is my normal,” the 2014 1st Round pick said. “Four years of this, something that happens when you’re on a team that has this many quality players and it’s just one of those things where I have to take my opportunities and run with them.
“This has definitely become a bit of a norm, so it’s something that shouldn’t throw me off at this point.”
The one pitch he might want back, of course, is the 3-0 pitch to Stanton that went around 483 feet out to left. What was he thinking on that pitch?
“The approach there is we’re up 3-1 and I’m going to be aggressive,” Fedde explained. “I know 3-0 I mentally probably should put a little more on that and just maybe really finished my sinker, but if I could have it back, I’d probably do something a little different, but in that case I’m looking to not give them free bases and if he rolls it over, we’re having a different discussion ... but he definitely crushed it.”