Erick Fedde and his manager talked after the 29-year-old right-hander’s fourth turn in the Washington Nationals’ rotation last week, (a 4 2⁄3-inning outing against Miami in which he threw 91 total pitches and gave up three hits, three walks, and two earned runs), about the pitcher’s struggles putting hitters away, which was running his pitch count up, and limiting his time on the mound.
More frustrating: Fedde felt great in the time he was on the mound.
“Honestly, this is the best I’ve felt since probably my first start, just the way my body felt,” Fedde told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after the appearance against the Marlins.
“To me, that’s a big win and something to build off of. But it sucks I had a 1-2-3 inning where I threw 24 pitches.
“The foul balls have been killing me lately. I would’ve loved to go six or more, but unfortunately I didn’t get there.”
Marlins’ hitters fouled off 18 of his 91 pitches in what ended up a 2-1 win for the Fish in the nation’s capital, and as skipper Davey Martinez said after the game, it was a combination of those fouled off pitches and extended at-bats where Fedde failed to put hitters away which led to his relatively brief outing.
“He got a lot of foul-offs,” Martinez acknowledged, before explaining that it wasn’t the whole story.
There were some times Fedde got to two strikes and then started to overthrow trying to put hitters away instead of sticking with what got him ahead in the count to begin with.
“What I did notice tonight, when he got to two strikes, he tried to hump up and throw that really nasty pitch,” Martinez said, “... and I talked a little bit when he came out of the game just about not doing that, just stay within yourself and make a good pitch. I always say, when the hitter is 0-2, it becomes a different at-bat for him, so just make a good pitch, don’t try to make the turbo pitch, and you might get out of those situations in 3-4 pitches. He seems like, 0-2, the next pitch he tries to throw as wild as he can and it’s wild, and the next pitch he tries to throw the turbo curveball or slurve, whatever he calls it, and it’s not effective.
“So I said, ‘Just stay within yourself, and like I said, you work really hard to get to that spot, and then you get the hitters right back in good hitters’ counts, so just try not to just do too much in those situations, but you’re going to be fine. I thought he battled really well today, just his pitch count got up there fairly quickly, a lot because of foul balls, a lot because, like I said, he was 0-2 to 2-2, 3-2, but he battled, so hopefully he learned today by some of the little things, and he comes out [in five days] and he gives us six strong innings with 90 pitches or so.”
Martinez was still on message when he spoke about what he wanted to see from Fedde in Coors Field before last night’s series opener with the Colorado Rockies.
“For me,” the manager said, “and from what we see on video after his work, it’s all about not trying to do too much 0-2, 1-2, where he’s got to make better — more consistent pitches 0-2, 1-2, around the zone. [What we] often talk about with him is you try to really throw a better slider, you try to throw a better cutter, you know, it doesn’t have to be any better. You got to 0-2, why? Because you made two good pitches. It’s about striking [guys] out, it’s about getting hitters out 3-4 pitches or less. What we see is whenever he gets to 0-2, he just wants to put guys away so bad, that he tends to hump up, and throw a lot of non-competitive pitches.
“0-2, 1-2, all you have to do is be around the plate, strike-strike-ball, instead of ball out of hand. So, and that’s something that we talked to him about, and hopefully today once he gets to 0-2, that he can do those things, but his stuff is good, I’ve always said that, he’s got really good stuff, he’s just got to hone everything down, tune everything down, and not get ahead of himself and just, like I said, try to get those outs fairly quickly.”
Fedde threw 21 pitches in the first against the Rockies, 12 in the second, 23 in the third, 11 in the fourth, nine in the fifth, 10 in the sixth, and 16 in the seventh, finishing seven strong on 102 pitches total, giving up just one run on six hits, walking two and striking out three in a 10-2 win.
Erick Fedde’s Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 102 P, 66 S, 9/4 GO/FO.
Fedde generated just three swinging strikes overall, but he did get 22 called strikes, spread out over his four pitches: four with his cutter, five with his curve, five with his fastball, and eight on his sinker, and though the Rockies fouled off 18 of his pitches, it was over seven innings, instead of 4 2⁄3 IP.
“It’s crazy,” Fedde said after the game, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “I feel like a lot of hits today were soft contact. And then I gave up a million hard-hit balls that were outs. I’ll take what I can get.”
“It’s tough to pitch here, but he did a great job,” his manager said. “He did the things that we’ve talked about, things that we were working on with him, and stayed out of that big inning.”
“He’s very happy, and he should be.”