While there was some speculation that the Washington Nationals would need to turn to a new starter at some point this weekend, with Stephen Strasburg on the Injured List and a total of five games in four days between Friday and Monday, with the rainout in Atlanta Thursday, the club looked like it might be able to get by with the starters already on the roster already.
“Obviously it’s Max [Scherzer’s] day,” on Saturday, manager Davey Martinez told reporters in his pregame Zoom call before Friday’s opener with the Miami Marlins in D.C..
“So [Scherzer will] pitch one of the games. We don’t know if it’s game 1 or Game 2 yet and then we’ll decide which game we’ll go — it’s either going to be [Erick] Fedde, which — that’s what I’m leaning towards, so we’ll see.”
Having a pitcher like Fedde, the Nationals’ 2014 1st Round pick, around to start if needed or fill in when issues arise, as happened with both Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg already in this 2020 campaign, is a luxury Martinez said he definitely appreciates.
“He’s been huge,” the manager said. “I’m proud of what he’s done, really, it’s not easy. But he’s always ready, and he keeps himself ready.
“He’s been doing well, he’s going to get a chance to start for I don’t know how long, but he’ll start one of these games tomorrow and then we’ll go from there.
“But he’s done really well, he’s matured a lot. We always talk about it, but he’s matured an awful lot, and he accepts his role and he says he’s ready to do whatever we ask him to do which is great.”
Fedde said earlier this season, after his first last-minute start, that he’s kind of gotten used to switching between rotation and bullpen roles and filling in where needed.
“This has definitely become a bit of a norm, so it’s something that shouldn’t throw me off at this point,” the 27-year-old starter said.
After last night’s game, however, Martinez wavered, telling reporters that Scherzer would be on the mound for one of the games, but that was all that they’d decided.
“TBD,” Martinez said when asked to confirm Fedde’s start in Game 2.
“We still haven’t decided yet, I’ll know more tomorrow.”
The decision on a 29th man for the second game of the doubleheader was part of the club’s decision-making process.
“We’re teeter-tottering on what we want to do for that 29th player, so I’ll tell you guys in the morning.”
This afternoon, the Nationals announced that they selected the contract of Wil Crowe, and selected him as the 29th man for today’s doubleheader.
Crowe, a 2017 2nd Round pick out of the University of South Carolina, finished up the 2019 season with a 3.87 ERA, a 3.15 FIP, 2.08 BB/9, and 8.40 K/9 in 16 starts and 95 1⁄3 innings on the mound with Double-A Harrisburg, then struggled after a move up to Triple-A Fresno in the club’s system, putting up a 6.17 ERA, a 5.64 FIP, 4.33 BB/9, and 6.83 K/9 in 10 starts and 54 IP for the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate.
Martinez said today that they liked what they’ve seen from the 25-year-old right-hander at the Alternate Training Site in Fredericksburg, VA.
“Wil Crowe is throwing the ball really well at our Alternate Site. We felt that he could get an opportunity here,” Martinez explained.
“He becomes the 29th man for the second game, we didn’t have to make any roster moves, so that’s kind of nice, but we like the way he’s been throwing the ball. He’s going to get an opportunity to go and pitch the second game today. I spoke to him this morning already and told him, ‘You be you, and pound that strike zone and get as many outs as you can for us.”