Following three scoreless outings in which he walked six, struck out 17, and held opposing hitters to a combined .148/.224./164 line in 19 innings pitched, Erick Fedde surrendered a total of six hits, three walks, and five earned runs in four innings on the mound against the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park on June 23rd.
Four days later, the 28-year-old, 2014 1st Round pick was placed on the 10-Day IL with an oblique strain.
“He had no idea how he got it,” manager Davey Martinez explained after Fedde went on the IL.
“He felt it after — the day after the game he started. We kind of monitored it a little bit and he went and got an MRI and it showed a mild strain of his left oblique.”
The fourth-year skipper said he did have some sympathy for Fedde, who’d already missed time after testing positive for COVID-19, and had his campaign interrupted again by health issues in a season in which he’s seemingly turned a corner.
“Of course, it stinks,” Martinez said.
“He’s done really well, and he comes back, and he pitches well, and then this happens to him. For me, I’ve got to stay positive with him and tell him, ‘Hey, look, you’ll overcome this too and you’ll come back and be ready to go again. So the biggest thing is to get him healthy, get him to 100%, and then let him come back.
“We’re not going to push him, as much as we need him, but we need him to be healthy.”
The move to the IL was retroactive to June 24th, the day after Fedde’s last start, so at this point, as soon as he was ready, he could return, and the Nats reinstated him so he could start the second game of four with the Padres last night in Petco Park.
“He basically missed a start,” Martinez explained when asked about slotting Fedde right back into the rotation.
“He was stretched out before then, his oblique felt good, he threw a really good extensive bullpen, and we feel confident he’ll go out there and give us what he can. I mean, there’s going to be no limitations on him, like I said, he’s been stretched out, his last outing was 4/74, before that he was a 100, so we feel confident that he can go out there and give us the innings we need.”
Fedde ended up giving the Nationals 4 1⁄3 innings, in which he gave up eight hits and six runs. Three of the six came on a three-run home run by Wil Myers in the fourth, but when the Nationals tied it up at 3-3 on a three-run home run by Josh Harrison in the top of the fifth, the starter came back out and gave up a leadoff single, one-out walk, and RBI single, 4-3 Padres, before Martinez pulled the plug on Fedde’s outing. The two runners he left on scored on an RBI single and sac fly after Sam Clay took over.
Fedde ended up taking the L in a 7-4 loss that evened things up after two games in the four-game series.
Erick Fedde’s Line: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 93 P, 56 S, 8/2 GO/FO.
Did Martinez have any regrets about sending Fedde back out for the fifth after he got hit a bit in the fourth?
“We talked, and I thought he threw the ball well, he felt fine, we tried to get him back out there for the fifth inning, our bullpen was short, and just that last inning there he got the ball up, he made a couple mistakes, but overall I thought he pitched really well,” Martinez said.
“I liked my stuff early, just the pitch to Myers, I tried to throw a sinker and it cut on me, kind of into his happy zone, unfortunately,” Fedde said in assessing his own outing, “but other than that, I was pretty happy and just some tough luck and unfortunately some big hits with guys on base.”
Both Fedde and his manager agreed that the big issue late was falling behind hitters.
“I mean, probably on all of them I think I fell behind, that’s probably the biggest issue,” Fedde explained. “At that point you’ve still got to be very aggressive and just mixing pitches, so and I had the one walk there that put guys on base, so I wish I could have probably been a little more aggressive and stayed on top of them, keep pressuring.”
“That was the key you know, he fell behind on those hitters,” Martinez added, “... and those are good hitters, and when you fall behind like that you’ve got to make some really good pitches. And like I said, he made one pitch to [Manny] Machado, he just couldn’t get the ball down, left it up, he drove the ball to right-center field, and the first batter, he jammed [Eric] Hosmer, blooped a hit, but like I said, it’s been 12 days, he looked good, he went out there and competed, and just that last inning got away from him a little bit.”
So how did the oblique issue which cost him that time happen?
“There wasn’t one pitch or one swing or anything that put me in a place where my oblique hurt,” Fedde said. “It was just probably two hours after the game [in Philadelphia] once I kind of cooled down and all the adrenaline went away I was really noticing something wasn’t right, and I think it was just one of those things, just talking to the training staff and everything I just didn’t know if I was ready to go out and say throw 100 pitches that next five days, and would just rather have been safe about it and instead of missing two months or something just miss ten days.”