Erick Fedde gave up two runs or fewer in four of five outings before Sunday’s start against the Los Angeles Angels in Angel Stadium, with his previous one a seven-inning, six-hit, two-walk turn in the rotation in which he held Colorado Rockies’ hitters to one run in a 102-pitch effort on the road in Coors Field.
That start left the Washington Nationals’ 29-year-old, 2014 1st Round pick with a 4.68 ERA, a 4.08 FIP, 10 walks, and 22 Ks in 25 IP overall on the season, over which opposing hitters had a .268/.330/.402 line against him.
“Erick has shown flashes of being the guy we want him to be; he’s a little bit inconsistent,” GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies this past Wednesday morning, a few hours after Fedde faced the Rockies, “... but his stuff plays at the big league level, and when he’s pitch-efficient, and pitching to contact and attacking hitters, he can get you into that sixth, seventh inning, and he showed that last night against a good lineup — in a tough place to pitch.”
Manager Davey Martinez talked before Fedde faced the Rockies about wanting to see the righty put hitters away when he got ahead, without overthrowing put-away pitches, and if he could work more efficiently, the fifth-year skipper said, he could go deeper than he did over his first four starts.
After watching the starter throw seven strong, he said he’d seen Fedde apply what the club worked on with him and stressed between outings.
“He did the things that we’ve talked about,” Martinez told reporters, “... things that we were working on with him, and stayed out of that big inning — but did really well today.”
“I thought I was ahead of a ton of counts,” Fedde said in assessing his own outing, “... and winning 1-1 counts as well — just something that I had been struggling with — and falling behind hitters in the last couple starts prior.”
It wasn’t exactly pretty on Sunday, with Fedde walking five in five innings against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, CA’s Angel Stadium, but he held the home team scoreless in what ended up a 97-pitch outing in which he struck out four and gave up just two hits.
Erick Fedde’s Line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 4 Ks, 97 P, 53 S, 4/4 GO/FO.
The Nationals took a 4-2 lead into the ninth, but gave up the lead and lost on a walk-off single, leaving Fedde with no decision in his sixth start of the season.
Fedde did generate 11 swinging strikes in the outing (5 with his cutter, 5 with his curve, and 1 with his sinker), and he got 18 called strikes as well (6 with his cutter, 8 with his curve, and 2 each with his sinker and four-seam fastball), but it was the walks the starter lamented when he spoke to reporters after the game.
“It was a grind the whole day,” Fedde said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “I really felt like I just had one pitch for the most part, and it was my cutter. If anything, it gives me more confidence just to have a lot of success with it. Just one of those ones where it’s the difference in a bad outing or a good one, being able to make the pitches when I needed to. The walks suck, but I’ll take the zero any day.”
“He was a bit erratic,” Martinez said, “…but you know what? Once again, Fedde showed some maturity. He stayed with it, he threw pitches when he had to, he made good pitches when he had to, and he was smart. He pitched smart when he had to. He came in, he wasn’t happy, but I told, ‘Hey, you gave us five, five good innings, and I know it wasn’t what you wanted, but I thought you did a great job and I thought again you showed a lot more maturity this outing as well.”