Erick Fedde gave up three hits, two walks, and two runs in a long, 36-pitch first on the road in Great American Ball Park, then the 29-year-old settled in with three scoreless innings (in which he threw a total of 38 pitches), before he gave up two hits and two runs in his final inning of work in the fifth. Manager Davey Martinez pulled the plug on the Washington Nationals’ starter’s 11th outing of 2022 at that point.
“He didn’t have any command with his cutter,” Martinez told reporters after Fedde threw his cutter just 12 times, 14%, down from 30.4% overall on the season. “He went more to his two-seamer, but like I said, he battled. He battled. He could have easily fell apart, and that’s — we talked about the maturity of Fedde now, right. He understands, hey he’s got to continue to go out there, continue to try to get outs for us and keep us in the game, and he did that today.”
Fedde told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Bobby Blanco, that it was less about which of his pitches he had command of, and more about the Cincinnati Reds’ lineup he was facing.
”I think it was just the batters that were, you know, that’s the first time in who knows how long that I’ve had that many righties in the lineup against me. “The cutter’s my best weapon to the lefties. I think that’s just where it came. And especially, I mean, a lot of their lineup is high-ball hitters. That’s where I use that pitch the most. So it just wasn’t, I thought, maybe my best pitch to get outs today.”
Last night in Nationals Park, going up a Brewers team he held to two runs on four hits and two walks in 5 2⁄3 IP in Milwaukee in May, Fedde threw his cutter just 15% of the time, going with his sinker (40%) and curve (34%), while mixing in his changeup as well (11%).
He had a total of just eight swinging strikes (four with his sinker), but got 18 called strikes overall, nine with his curve, seven with his sinker, and one each on his cutter and change.
Fedde worked around a one-out walk in a 17-pitch top of the first, but gave up a one-out single by Andrew McCutchen in the top of the second.
Jace Peterson followed with a two-run home run to right on a 2-0 cutter up in the zone he hit 429 feet into the first row of the second deck to put the Brewers up 2-1.
McCutchen was 2 for 2 against the Nats’ starter on the night after he singled off Fedde with one out in the top of the fourth, and he stole second, then took third on a wild pitch, before scoring on a fly ball to center off Jace Peterson’s bat that Victor Robles caught at the wall, 3-3.
With the score 5-3 in the Nationals’ favor after four, Fedde retired the Brewers in order in a 12-pitch fifth, and got two outs around a walk in the top of the sixth, but that was it for the right-hander, who was up to 98 pitches overall.
Erick Fedde’s Line: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 98 P, 55 S, 6/3 GO/FO.
“Fedde, once again kept us in the game,” Martinez said after what ended up an 11-5 win, “and I thought at the end there he got a little tired, he’s up to 90-something pitches, so we had [Steve] Cishek ready to go there.”
“I was pretty happy with it,” Fedde said of his 12th start of the season.
“Unfortunately gave up the home run, I mean, the team gave me the lead I think three different times, and twice I gave it up, which I’m not happy about, but they put up a ton of runs, and was able to keep them somewhat in control, so a good day.”
Asked if he was able to separate his own performance or struggles on the mound from the club’s success, Fedde said, “A win always makes the day feel a lot better, I go home and sleep a little better, but on days like these it’s about feeling good, and then especially when the team gives you that many runs, and honestly, I felt good, so I’m not going to over-think it.”
As his manager said, Fedde kept the team in the game, and gave the Nats some length to spare the bullpen a bit.
“For sure, that’s the goal every time out there,” Fedde said, “and when you go back out there for the sixth, you know at least you did something right that day.”