All things considered, Erick Fedde said after his second consecutive solid outing out of the gate last week in Pittsburgh, which saw Washington’s 29-year-old, 2014 1st Round pick give up a pair of runs in five innings just as he had in his initial outing of the 2022 campaign, it’s been a positive start to the new season.
Starting strong this season provided the right-hander with a boost of confidence.
“Yeah, for sure,” Fedde told reporters in PNC Park.
“It’s nice to get my feet under me without, I guess, a lot of damage at this point, so it’s a great starting point and if anything I want to get even better from there.”
The one area he was focused on, Fedde said, was pitch efficiency, after he threw a total of 87 and 96 pitches in the back-to-back, five-inning outings in his first two starts.
“I think I got my pitch count into the 90s today,” he explained, “... so, probably where I’d like to be leaving Spring Training, so at this point I’d say fully stretched out, and ready to give as many innings as I can.”
“That was a lot of pitches for him in five innings, but he managed through,” manager Davey Martinez said after a 7-2 win over the defending World Series champs on the road in PNC.
“I told him, I’ll go back and look at everything tonight and see where we can clean up some areas, you know, and then come back tomorrow and talk to him about it.”
“Stuff has been good, cutter has been great,” GM Mike Rizzo said when asked about Fedde in his weekly visit with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday morning as the right-hander prepared for start No. 3.
“He needs — his pitch efficiency, his strike-throwing efficiency needs to improve for him to go deeper into games, and I think that’s his goal obviously, and his next step is to be a guy that pitches deep into games for us, and I realize that there’s not a lot of people in the league pitching 7-8 innings, with the exception of Max [Scherzer] and those type of guys, but we need our starters to go deeper into games, because when they do, you see our record. It’s hard to cover 5-to-5 1⁄3 innings on a consistent basis with your bullpen, and when our starters get us into that sixth inning length of a game it just closes the game up a lot easier for [manager] Davey [Martinez] to manipulate that bullpen.”
Through two innings last night, Fedde was up to 38 pitches, after he’d limited the damage in a 27-pitch second which saw the Arizona Diamondbacks load the bases with no one out but score just one run on a one-out sac fly, 1-0.
A one-out double (by Ketel Marte) and back-to-back singles (by David Peralta and Christian Walker) added to the D-backs’ lead, 2-0, and Seth Beer connected for the 4th straight hit to drive in Peralta, singling to right field for a 3-0 advantage, and 4-0 on a sac fly to center by Pavin Smith.
In the fourth, Yonny Hernandez singled with one out, stole second, and scored on a 2-run shot to right field by Daulton Varsho, whose second of the series and third of the year put Arizona up 6-0. A single in the next at-bat ended Fedde’s outing after 3 1⁄3 IP in which he’d thrown a total of 80 pitches...
Erick Fedde’s Line: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 80 P, 55 S, 3/4 GO/FO.
“He couldn’t — they didn’t swing and miss,” Martinez said after the Nationals’ 11-2 loss to the D-backs. “He threw a lot of pitches. Pitch count got up to 80 in 3 1⁄3 innings. Some balls he left up were hit hard, and then they fouled off a lot of pitches and they put the ball in play, so I told Fedde, ‘Hey, look, let’s forget about this one and move forward.’ I mean, they had good at-bats against him.”
D-backs’ hitters connected for eight hits off Fedde, fouled off 20 of 80 pitches, and put 16 in play overall, with just four swinging strikes total.
Was there anything he could have done differently to adjust to the rough way he was being treated on the mound in the nation’s capital?
“I thought he made some pretty decent pitches,” Martinez said.
“I’ll go back tonight and watch, but they were fouling everything off, they were moving the baseball, and like I said, the pitches he threw up they hit pretty hard.”