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Washington Nationals drop 12-2 opener in Atlanta; Braves knock Erick Fedde out early

Erick Fedde didn’t have it tonight in Atlanta...

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves Photo by Brett Davis/Getty Images

Fedde vs ATL:

Davey Martinez’s message for Erick Fedde going into his 6/15 start against Atlanta in D.C. was essentially the same one he’s been pounding into the 29-year-old starter’s head all season: Don’t start nibbling or trying to throw wipeout type pitches when you get ahead in the count.

“We always talk about how he goes 0-2 to 3-2, and we want him to get better at that. Three pitches or less, as we always talk about. But when he does that, and he’s attacking the strike zone, his stuff is good, and he can keep us in the ballgame.”

Fedde gave the Nationals 5 13 innings in an 8-2 loss to the Braves in that outing in which he gave up seven hits, three walks, and three runs.

“He’s got to understand that his stuff is good,” Martinez reiterated, “but he’s got to get more competitive with two strikes, and get the ball closer to the zone. He throws a lot of non-competitive pitches with two strikes, and like I said, guys at this level, they’re not going to chase those kind of pitches.”

How did he do in start No. 2 against Atlanta?

Fedde tried to come up and in with a 2-1 cutter to Braves’ first baseman Matt Olson with two out in the first tonight, but didn’t quite get it in enough, and Olson hit it 348 feet to right, off the top of the brick wall in Truist Park for a solo shot and 1-0 lead after one.

With one out and Eddie Rosario on first in the bottom of the second, Fedde threw a wild one that moved the runner up, then Rosario stole third (mostly on the righty, who did not pay all that much attention to the baserunner before the pitch), and after walks to catcher William Contreras and shortstop Orlando Arcia, Nationals’ pitching coach Jim Hickey came out for a talk with the Nationals’ starter, who was up to 26 pitches in the inning and 42 overall. Fedde got up 0-2 on Michael Harris II in the next at-bat, but gave up a two-run double to left on a sinker outside, 3-0 Braves. Ronald Acuña, Jr. stepped in next and hit a 2-2 cutter 446 feet to left-center for a three-run blast and a 6-0 lead.

It was 6-2 when Fedde came out for the bottom of the third, at 62 pitches after a 46-pitch second, and retired two batters before giving up a two-run homer to right field by William Contreras, whose 11th of the season made it 7-2 in Atlanta’s favor.

Harris II, Acuña, and Dansby Swanson hit back-to-back-to-back singles off Fedde to start the fourth, on three consecutive pitches, and that was it for Fedde, who was at that point up to a total of 75 pitches, trailing 8-2 after Harris II scored on Swanson’s hit...

Erick Fedde’s Line: 3.0 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 3 HRs, 75 P, 45 S, 4/1 GO/FO.

Morton vs D.C.:

Coming into tonight’s outing, veteran starter Charlie Morton was on a nice run, with a 1.35 ERA, a 2.24 FIP, five walks, 35 Ks, and a .152/.212/.239 line against in his last four starts and 26 23 IP, and he got a 6-0 lead to work with after throwing two scoreless on 30 pitches in the series opener with the Nationals tonight.

Lane Thomas singled with one out in the third, however, and Juan Soto stepped in next and hit a 95 MPH 1-0 fastball 418 feet to center for a two-run blast, his 16th home run of the year which made it a 6-2 game after two and a half.

It was 8-2 after four, and Morton was up to 78 pitches total after he picked César Hernández off first for out No. 3 of a 16-pitch fifth, one out after he’d walked Hernández.

A 14-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth pushed Morton up to 92 pitches, and he returned in the seventh and set the Nationals down in order in a 13-pitch frame which left him at 105.

Charlie Morton’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 105 P, 69 S, 7/4 GO/FO.

Bullpen Action:

Jordan Weems inherited a two-on, no-out jam from Erick Fedde, with the Braves already up 8-2, struck out two batters, and got a groundout to strand the runners and keep it a six-run game.

Weems came back out and retired the Braves in order in the fifth as well, on 13 pitches.

Erasmo Ramírez worked around leadoff and one-out singles for a scoreless bottom of the sixth, and the right-hander returned in the seventh and retired the Braves in order.

Collin McHugh worked around a two-out opposite field single by Juan Soto for a scoreless eighth. Still 8-2.

Michael Harris II took Ramírez deeeeeeep to right, 435-feet deep, for a two-run home run in the eighth, 10-2.

Heavy rain began to fall in Atlanta in the bottom of the eighth, and the game went into a delay...

One hour and 15 minutes later...

For some reason they waited it out and restarted the game at 11:15 PM. Alcides Escobar got the ball with one out in the Braves’ half of the eighth, and gave up a walk to Matt Olson, a double by Austin Riley, and a two-run single by Marcell Ozuna, 12-2 ATL.

Nationals now 30-56