Erick Fedde threw 80 pitches in three innings against the New York Mets last weekend in D.C., giving up nine hits and seven runs (four earned) in what ended up an 11-9 loss.
Washington Nationals’ bench coach Tim Bogar, who filled in for an ejected Davey Martinez on the bench in that game, talked afterwards about Fedde’s outing not being as bad as his line looked.
“I honestly thought he didn’t pitch that bad,” Bogar said. “He gave up a lot of ground ball base hits, you know, if he gets a couple ground balls right at people, it’s a whole different day.”
Martinez, who was tossed in the second for arguing over a check swing that was called no swing — “He swung, no doubt about it,” Martinez said that night. “No doubt in my mind. I looked at it 25 times, and he swung.” — got to watch some of Fedde’s outing on TV in his office. What did he see from Fedde in that outing?
“Yeah, for me, and I have to reiterate again, I know his curveball was good in his previous outing,” Martinez said, “but I told him the last couple days, he’s really got to establish his fastball early, and then he can get to that breaking ball, and when he does that he’s good, he can throw breaking balls, but but he’s got to establish his fastball.
“When he falls behind, as we always talk about, and he’s got to throw a strike, he tends to get hit, you know, so hopefully today he goes out there and attacks the zone early, and he can finish hitters.”
Fedde, who’s thrown his curveball 19.8% of the time overall this season, threw it 23% of the time in his second consecutive start against the Mets, after he’d thrown it for 38% of his 99 pitches in the previous outing against New York, 37% of the time against the Miami Marlins in a dominant outing before that, and 26% of the time in the start before that.
Opposing hitters had a .330 AVG on Fedde’s sinking fastball going into last night’s start in Atlanta, a .250 AVG on his cutter, .202 AVG on his curve, and a .205 AVG on his changeup, but his manager said the damage on his fastball often came when he had to throw it for a strike after falling behind hitters.
“He’s got to get it down,” Martinez said. “We talk about that all the time. He’s got to get that sinker down, and like I said, when he has to throw a strike, when he’s 2-0 or 2-1, 3-1, and he has to throw that sinker for a strike, they hit it pretty hard.”
Fedde fell behind 2-1 on Stephen Vogt and gave up a solo home run for the first run he gave up in the bottom the third, on an 89 MPH cutter up high inside. Freddie Freeman fouled off six straight pitches after starting up 3-0 in a fourth-inning at bat, then doubled on a cutter, down and in. Austin Riley drove Freeman in on a 1-2 curve up high outside.
Vogt homered again on a 3-2 fastball up in the zone outside in the fifth, and in the sixth, the righty threw a first-pitch sinker middle-middle to Jorge Soler that was absolutely crushed, a 439-foot bomb.
Erick Fedde’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 Ks, 3 HRs, 108 P, 70 S, 6/4 GO/FO.
“We made some mistakes pitching wise,” Martinez said after what ended up a 7-6 loss in extra innings, “and I talk about it all the time, can’t make mistakes to good hitters.”
Asked about Fedde’s mistakes in particular, Martinez didn’t hold back.
“He was good, just some — for me, it was more mental mistakes. You know, we go over our game plan, and he just decides he’s going to just throw a fastball when he shouldn’t and it gets hit a long way, and not just throw a fastball, you want to throw a fastball, you can’t throw it down the middle. That’s hurt us quite a bit. You got to throw the ball with purpose, and with meaning and you can’t just say I’m going to try to throw the ball by him, because like I said, these hitters, they’re good, and as you can see their lineup, they got guys hitting 20-plus home runs, almost everybody, and if you make a mistake, they’re going to hit it far.”
Fedde was back up to 38% curveballs, though he did collect nine swinging and five called strikes with the pitch, and 25% sinkers, 22% cutters, 9% four-seamers, and 6% changeups.
“For the most part he threw the ball well,” Martinez said.
“If you look at his line, five hits, six innings, no walks, you would think that he’d be out of the game maybe 1-0, but like I said, the homers today killed us.”