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Washington Nationals’ Erick Fedde bounces back from rough 2021 debut...

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Erick Fedde didn’t want to let his bad first outing snowball into another rough appearance, and he managed to put together a solid start in St. Louis.

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MLB: Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Erick Fedde didn’t make it out of the second in his 2021 debut. Fedde gave up six hits, three walks, and six runs, five earned, in the 45-pitch, 27-strike outing against the Atlanta Braves.

“We talk about it all the time,” manager Davey Martinez said of the 28-year-old righty’s work in what ended up a 7-6 loss.

“He’s got to pound the strike zone. He’s got to pound the strike zone. He’s got to get ahead. When he does that he’s really good. There’s good hitters in this league and when you fall behind and you have to throw a strike, they don’t miss a lot of times. So, he’s got to work ahead, he’s got to work ahead, and he’s got to have conviction when he throws his pitches.”

“Honestly, my fastball was up a lot today,” Fedde said in assessing his own outing. “Pitching behind in counts makes everything a lot tougher.

“Those are probably the two big things. I mean, yeah, that pretty much led to everything.”

Martinez talked before Fedde’s start in last night’s series opener in St. Louis about what he’d seen when he went back and watched Fedde’s 2021 debut, which the skipper is wont to do when he goes home every night.

“We talk about it all the time with him,” Martinez said. “He’s got to control the strike zone.

“He’s got to pitch with conviction. When he does that he’s good. He’s got to get ahead, get ahead and stay ahead.

“I’m looking for him to go out there and throw strikes and get the ground balls that he can get, and keep us in the ballgame.”

Asked what’s kept Fedde from doing what they all know he needs to thus far, if it’s a lack of confidence when it comes to pitching in the zone, or what, the skipper said, “... sometimes for a young pitcher, as he still is, you try to be too fine. And we talk about that with him.

“‘Don’t be too fine. You control the strike zone, just, hey, guys are up there to hit as well, but you got to get ahead.’

“As we talk about, you look at batting averages, 0-1, 1-2, you know, when pitchers are ahead, it’s tough to hit. So work ahead, and go from there.”

In start No. 2 for the 2014 1st Round pick last night, Fedde was sharp early, retiring the first six batters he faced, and striking out four, but he gave a leadoff single in the third, and two outs later an RBI single that tied things up at 1-1 after the visiting team jumped out to a 1-0 lead.

Fedde held the Cardinals there through four, then got himself in trouble with back-to-back, one-out walks in the bottom of the fifth, and the opposing pitcher bunted to advance both runners/gave up an out, before Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez went to the pen for right-hander Kyle Finnegan.

Erick Fedde’s Line: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 77 P, 45 S, 4/4 GO/FO.

The starter and manager both talked after what ended up a 5-2 win over the Cards about what was working for Fedde that wasn’t there his first time out.

“Honestly, I really felt like I had a true four-pitch mix today,” Fedde said. “Everything was really working, especially early in the game. Lost my changeup a little bit late, but I was really happy with everything, I could throw everything for a strike, that’s a good feeling.”

Martinez had a one-word answer when asked what he liked.

“Strikes,” he said. “He threw strikes. That’s big. I’m really proud of him, he bounced back after a tough first outing, he came back today and threw the ball really well.”

“I think the biggest change was maybe just the tempo down the mound,” Fedde explained.

“I think the first game was just over-excited, a little antsy, just didn’t feel timed up, and today I was just a lot more relaxed, and I’d say strong down the mound.”

Though he struggled out of the gate, Fedde said he told himself that there was no need to panic or change things up.

“I think the biggest thing for me was I really liked where I was at in Spring,” he explained.

“And I didn’t want to over-panic or immediately say one bad outing was going to be something that was going to make me change everything and hit the panic button.

“If anything it was just stay calm and just remember where I was at, and try to get back to that point, and I think that was the biggest thing today, was just be calm and trust where I was at.”