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Washington Nationals news & notes: Joey Meneses keeps hitting; Erick Fedde vs base stealers + more...

Highlights from Davey Martinez’s media available this weekend...

Meneses With Your Mind:

In 50 games before Saturday afternoon’s with the Philadelphia Phillies in D.C., Washington’s 30-year-old rookie, Joey Meneses, had a .323/.361/.567 line, with 13 doubles, 12 home runs, 29 RBIs, 12 walks, and 29 runs scored in 216 plate appearances, with his 65 hits, “the most by any rookie through his first 50 games in franchise history (MON/WS),” as the Nationals noted in their pregame notes, and 19 multi-hit efforts in his first two months in the majors following 10 years in the minors and playing internationally before making his MLB debut.

Meneses had also, “hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, going 15-for-39 (.385) with three doubles, three homers, six RBI(s), four walks, one stolen base, and four runs scored along the way,” as the Nationals highlighted.

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals - Game One Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

“I watch him, and I didn’t think the way he hit was a fluke,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters, as quoted by’s Jessica Camerato before Saturday’s game.

Meneses has a combined .281/.338/.431 line over 10 seasons in the minors (and he’s put up a .279/.340/.423 line in nine seasons playing internationally).

“I think the kid knows how to hit,” Martinez added.

Meneses made it hits in 10 of 11 and multi-hit games in 20 of his first 51 games in the majors with a big day in the second of three with the Phillies in D.C., hitting a bases-loaded, base-clearing double in the second inning, and then a solo home run to lead off the fifth (2 for 3), then he walked the fourth time to the plate, and scored the Nationals’ 8th run of the game in the 7th to put the home team up 8-4 in what ended up a 13-4 win for the Nationals.

Voit’s Buttons:

In the first 16 games in September, Luke Voit, the one established major leaguer acquired in the Juan Soto/Josh Bell deal with the Padres, was on a nice run, 21 for 62 (.339/.417/.516 line with two doubles, three home runs, nine walks, and 12 Ks in 72 PAs over that stretch), but he struggled in the second-half of the month, going 5 for 39 (.128/.167/.180, with two doubles, two walks, and 18 Ks in 10 games and 42 PAs) to finish out his second month with the Nats, with an especially tough stretch on the road trip to Atlanta and Miami (2 for 25, 15 Ks).

In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader with Philadelphia in D.C., Voit went 2 for 5 with a home run (his 22nd of 2022, and his first in 11 games), three runs scored, and two RBIs in a 13-4 win for the home team.

His manager, Davey Martinez, said Voit is another one of his hitters who needs to stay up the middle of the field to have success at the plate.

“I watched him play — especially when he was in Yankee Stadium — and he hit, drove the ball to right-center field,” the manager explained.

“Why? Because right-center field is where you really want to hit the ball. So, when he stays in the middle of the field, he’s got the potential to hit 35 and drive in 100.

“Especially some of those freebies at third base with less than two outs, he’s got to understand, ‘Hey, just put the ball in play and stay in the middle of the field and you can drive in 100 runs and hit the ball, 35 homers, but hit the ball the other way.’

“‘You’re going to pull balls, but for the most part you need to stay in the middle of the field.’”

Fedde vs Base Stealers:

In his five innings of work on the mound on Friday afternoon, the Philadelphia Phillies stole five bases mostly off starter Erick Fedde, who seemed incapable of stopping Philly’s running game, allowing the Nationals’ rivals to run at will in the series opener in the nation’s capital.

If a runner reached first base, they took second, with little or no hesitation or resistance from Washington’s 29-year-old starter.

“The running game, we talked to Fedde about, ‘Hey, you got to be quicker. You got to stop, you got to pay attention,’” manager Davey Martinez told reporters after the Nats’ 5-1 loss to the Phils.

“And they just ran all over him. I felt bad for [catcher] Riley [Adams], he really didn’t have a chance.”

Adams, admirably, tried to take his share of the blame, but his manager and Fedde placed it where they though it belonged.

“I think early, maybe I wasn’t mixing my looks as much as I should have, especially with the steal at second base,” Fedde told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.

“But I’ve got to be quicker. I bounced a couple pitches when they ran, too. I just want to give [Adams] a chance to throw some guys out.”

“[Fedde] was 1.6 the whole game,” Martinez said of Fedde’s time to the plate (in seconds).

MLB: Game One-Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

“1.5, 1.6. So, you got to give your catcher a chance to throw guys out.”

Was it late-season neglect? An issue they have seen before with Fedde?

“He gets that way at times,” Martinez said. “I think he thought he was quick, but that’s not quick. So, that’s something that he has to work on. That can’t happen every time they get on first base, he’s got to be more aware.”

Fedde gave up seven hits, a walk, and a total of three runs, two earned, in his five innings on the mound, leaving him with a 5.27 ERA, a 4.95 FIP, 56 walks, 93 Ks, and a .284/.353/.452 line against in 26 starts and 124 23 IP on the year. His manager’s take on the starter’s season overall?

“It’s all about controlling the strike zone for me with him,” Martinez said.

“He’s got to get better at that, so — I always say his stuff is good, but he’s got to control the strike zone. He’s got to get the ball over the plate, up down, not side to side.

“When he does that, he’s relatively good, but he’s got to be consistent with it.”

Weems Emerges:

Jordan Weems has been up and down all season, shuttling back and forth between Triple-A Rochester and the majors in his first season in Washington’s organization after signing as a free agent early this past March, but he’s taken advantage of his 30 opportunities out of the bullpen for the Nationals to make a strong impression on his manager.

“We gave him a task when I first saw him in Spring Training about throwing strikes, getting the ball over the strike zone with all his pitches, developing a third pitch,” skipper Davey Martinez said this week, “… so, at the end ... what I’m seeing now is a guy that — and he’s still fairly young as a pitcher — a guy that’s learned a lot about not only how to attack hitters, but about himself, and that he feels a lot more confident that he can pitch up here, which is great.”

Weems, 29, made his MLB debut for the Oakland A’s in 2020’s 60-game season, and made 14 appearances for the Athletics in two years, and he made two more for Arizona’s D-backs in 2021, before signing on in D.C. this past spring.

MLB: SEP 27 Braves at Nationals Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

He’s taken advantage of the extended opportunities with the Nationals this season, and has given his manager a good idea of what he had to offer out of the ‘pen. Weems has thrown his four-seamer 64.5% of the time, with opposing hitters putting up a .253 AVG on the pitch, and he’s mixed in a slider (23.5%; .239 BAA) for his two main offerings, while he occasionally mixed in a changeup (9.0%), and curve (3.1%).

“He’s got a very live fastball,” Martinez said before Friday’s afternoon’s game, “… but his breaking pitches were developed really well this year. He throws a split, throws a good curveball.

“We still want him to be able to land his curveball early in counts, but he’s done a lot better, and you can see that.”

The biggest development for Weems, his manager said, is his increased confidence.

“He’s got a lot of confidence going on the mound now,” Martinez said, “so we talked a lot about that with him, how, ‘When I first saw you, you were out there and something went wrong, you know, you dropped your head, you started getting frustrated, you started breathing faster,’ I said, ‘Now all of a sudden you’re staying in the moment and you know that you can get yourself out of situations,’ so moving forward he’s a good one.

“We got quite a few down there in the bullpen that are going to be really good.

“We’re excited that he came back up, he worked hard, he was very diligent about what he wanted to do and he had a really good year for us.”