In an up-and-down campaign overall, Erick Fedde had been really good against the Miami Marlins, with a 1.04 ERA, two walks, 22 Ks and a .200/.224/.277 line against in 17 1⁄3 innings over three starts before last night.
Fedde, 28, held the Fish to a total of three hits and one earned runs in five innings pitched last time out against the Nats’ NL East rivals in the nation’s capital, and last night he was in loanDepot park, where he struck out a career-high 10 batters and gave up just a run on six hits in 6 1⁄3 IP back on August 24th.
In his first start of the year against the Marlins, on July 21st, the 2014 1st Round pick gave up four hits, a walk, and one unearned run in a six-inning outing.
“I think maybe the last two times I’ve started against them it’s been — there are a lot of new younger guys on that roster,” Fedde said after his September 14th start against Miami in D.C.
“So still trying to get to feel them out, but there’s definitely guys that I’ve faced before and maybe I feel comfortable against and know how to go after them to be successful, but yeah, I mean, it’s always nice to feel like you’ve had a team’s number when you step out there.”
Fedde said he was also getting more comfortable with catcher Keibert Ruiz, who was back behind the plate for a third straight start with the righty against the Marlins in D.C. and was catching him again last night in Miami.
“Definitely more comfortable,” Fedde told reporters. “I think he’s starting to get a feel of what I like to do to certain types of hitters, whether it be like lefty power guys or slap hitters or whatnot, I think he’s starting to get a feel and see how my stuff effects — and I don’t know, I think he’s been really good about being a presence behind the plate. If he calls a pitch that he really believes in, he’ll give me kind of like the fist of, ‘Let’s go!’ and ‘You’ve got this!’ Like come right at them, and that’s a good feeling to know that someone believes in that pitch right there, and I think it really gives me confidence really going after them. I think it leads to the lower walks too.”
Fedde’s 0.64 BB/9 in 14 IP in September before last night were down from 2.30 BB/9 in 31 1⁄3 IP in August, 4.22 in 21 1⁄3 in July, 3.94 in 16 IP in June, 3.71 in 17 IP in May, and 4.43 BB/9 in 22 1⁄3 IP in March/April.
Fedde didn’t walk anyone in the first three innings against the Marlins last night, but he did give up a 415-foot upper deck home run by Jazz Chisholm, 3-1, and then a game-tying, 421-foot, two-out, two-run home run by Jesús Sánchez later in the bottom of the third inning, 3-3, after the Nationals jumped out to an early three-run lead.
Chisholm got Fedde again in the bottom of the fifth, hitting a 3-2 curve down in the zone inside, out to center for a 427-foot solo home run that made it 6-4 game in the Nationals’ favor in what ended up an 8-7 loss for the visiting team in extras.
The first two homers came on a cutter and curve up in the zone, respectively.
“I thought Fedde threw the ball okay,” manager Davey Martinez said after the loss. “But he made some crucial mistakes to pretty good hitters, and it cost him four runs.”
“A lot of those pitches if I execute them,” Fedde said in his own post game Zoom call with reporters, “I just don’t think they leave the park... so just a little frustrating leaving pitches into their — into the places that I know I shouldn’t throw them.”
Fedde said he and Ruiz didn’t change much up from the previous outings against the Fish.
“I think I took the same approach into it, tried to improve on it a little, but I mean, there were just one or two pitches that I think if I get a different location — no matter the pitch type, it’s an out.”
If he’s looking for positives to take away from the outing, Fedde managed to avoid issuing any walks for the third straight start.
“Just not giving in to guys,” has been the key to avoiding walks, Fedde said.
“I feel like I never really try to back down once I get to three-ball counts, or full counts, and just try to challenge guys, and I feel like these last couple of outings too, I’ve had, you know, leads — so I think that’s one of those things where maybe a walk leads to a long inning, and I’m just trying to avoid that at all costs.”