Pressed into action early when Stephen Strasburg’s carpal tunnel issues ended his outing in the first inning two Sunday’s back, Erick Fedde came on in relief against Baltimore’s Orioles in Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and tossed 5 1⁄3 scoreless innings in what ended up being a 15-3 win for Washington’s Nationals.
“We gave him a little bit of a heads up,” Davey Martinez told reporters after the game, “but still and all, to come out there after the first inning and go out there and do what he does, that was huge. He picked us all up today.”
That outing left the 27-year-old, 2014 1st Round pick with a 2.55 ERA, a 5.57 FIP, nine walks, five Ks, and a .257/.342/.386 line against in five games (two starts) and 17 2⁄3 IP this season.
“I wasn’t expecting 5 1⁄3, but luckily was able to be really efficient and get through that,” Fedde said after the 71-pitch appearance against the O’s.
“When you get that opportunity just looking at it as trying to be efficient and help the guys out in the bullpen and get as far down as I could.”
Fedde’s next planned outing was rained out, so he had 10 days off heading into last night’s start, which his manager said he didn’t think would be a problem.
“Obviously he’s thrown some bullpens and kept himself going. So he’s fresh, he’s been used in so many different roles already this year,” Martinez said.
“Hopefully he goes out there today and I know [Pitching Coach] Paul [Menhart] has talked to him, I’ve always talked to him about focusing on pitch to pitch and throwing strike one and going from there. His stuff has been really good this year. The biggest thing that we have to watch is his usage and keep an eye on the high-leverage early on in the game, but hopefully he goes out there and just pumps strikes like he’s done in his last outing, and we need to get him to go deep into the game, at least five or six innings. I think he’s ready, and like I said, he’s shown a lot of maturity this year.
“I’ve asked him to do a lot of different things, and he’s stepped up to each one, and hopefully today he does it again.”
Fedde tossed two scoreless to start the game against the Philadelphia Phillies, as the Nats jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but the starter ran into trouble in the third, with Scott Kingery doubling on a line drive off of the left field wall and scoring on an RBI single by Andrew McCutchen, 1-1.
Rhys Hoskins singled as well, and one out later J.T. Realmuto hit a 1-1 fastball to right, off the top of the wall and up, before it dropped into the visitor’s bullpen, just out of Adam Eaton’s reach, 4-1.
After working around two-out singles in the fourth and fifth innings, Fedde was set to take the mound in the sixth when rain began to fall in Nationals Park, and the delay ended start No. 3 for the righty, in what ended up an 8-3 loss.
Erick Fedde’s Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 87 P, 51 S, 8/5 GO/FO.
“I think in the first couple innings I had a lot better fastball command than I probably did there at the end,” Fedde said after the outing.
“It started off the way I liked, and had a couple double plays, which are my best friend.”
Double plays are his best friend, and his fastball, Fedde said, is his best pitch, but he didn’t have the command he wanted, as he explained.
“Today I just didn’t have that glove-side command,” he explained, “and later in the innings, just had to throw some more breaking balls, which, it worked for the most part other than the one big hit.”
Fedde got two double plays and eight groundouts total on the night, which his manager said is always a good sign for the right.
“He pitched well,” Martinez said. “He fell behind a couple times, worked his way out of some jams with the double plays.
“When he’s throwing ground balls, that’s when I know he’s pitching really well. That one fly ball to Realmuto, that was the big one there, but I thought he did well. The rain kind of got him.
“He was going to go out for the sixth inning and pitch that inning. I thought he could make it one more inning. And the rain just got him, but I thought he did really well.”
“I was trying to sprint back out there and get that sixth inning to try to help out the guys,” Fedde joked, “... but unfortunately I just can never seem to have starts that are normal, so here we are.”
“I mean it’s unbelievable,” Trea Turner said in discussing the fact that Fedde can’t seem to have a normal outing.
“We told him that he can’t pitch on getaway days anymore, because we’ll never leave. It’s just one thing after another with him, but he’s a gamer and he’s the guy that you want in those situations, because he just let it roll off his back and he goes out there and still does his thing. He has a good attitude about it, but man, it’s been kind of crazy all the stuff that’s happened to him already this year.”