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Erick Fedde couldn’t put hitters away in Nationals’ 12-2 loss to Braves

MLB: JUL 08 Nationals at Braves Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Erick Fedde gave up three hits, three walks, and two earned runs in six innings of work on the mound against Miami last week in the nation’s capital, throwing 106 pitches to the 23 batters he faced.

“I thought Fedde — other than the walks — he hung in there and gave us six really good innings, kept us in the game,” skipper Davey Martinez said after Washington’s 7-4 loss to their NL East rivals in Nationals Park.

Before the outing, Fedde’s 16th (5-5, 4.29 ERA, 4.33 FIP, .249/.328/.382 line against in 79 23 IP), Martinez had reiterated the club’s message for the 2014 1st Round pick this season.

“We tell him all the time, you get ahead of hitters, and the biggest thing for him is to try to put hitters away in three or four pitches or less. If he can do that, he goes deep in games.

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

“His stuff is good, and he has gotten better, as we all know, so the biggest thing for him is to try to get quick outs.”

Throwing 75 pitches (45 of them strikes, 60%) to 20 batters in three-plus innings of work, in which he gave up eight hits, three walks, and eight earned runs is definitely not what Fedde or his manager wanted out of the 29-year-old starter’s outing in last night’s series opener in Atlanta.

He left the mound with two on and no one out in the fourth, having given up three singles on three pitches and his eighth run of the night.

“Couldn’t finish hitters,” Martinez said after what ended up a 12-2 loss in Truist Park.

“I mean, he had a — one inning he had four 0-2 counts, and walked four guys, he just couldn’t finish hitters today.”

Fedde only walked three batters in the second, actually, and only two of them started in 0-2 counts, but he did give up a two-run double on an 0-2 pitch, and a three-run home run after starting up 0-2 in the at-bat, so Martinez’s point about failing to put hitters away still stands.

MLB: JUL 08 Nationals at Braves Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“You watch him and you’re saying, ‘Okay, he’s 0-2,’ okay, I can see him try to get 3-4 pitches or less, after he goes 2-2, you go, ‘Oh, boy.’ Then it’s 3-2, and a foul ball, then a foul ball, then it’s 4-2. We just got to continue to talk to him about, ‘You don’t have to be so fine when you’ve got two strikes, just make a good, competitive pitch, and try to get them to swing, and there’s times where he’s done that and was really good at it.

“So, we got to continue to talk to him and tell him, ‘Hey look, you got to 0-2 for a reason, right? But don’t give in, keep attacking the strike zone and see what happens.”

Martinez and his coaches have stressed the same messages with Fedde all along, so how do they get him to finally change his approach and follow their advice? What can he do?

“I think he’s just got to continue, once he gets ahead, like I said, he’s just got to continue to make the pitches. Sometimes I think he’s trying to overthrow pitches, trying to get some swings and misses. Hey, 0-2, you’ve got the hitters on defense, I mean, just attack like you did when it was 0-0, to 0-1, to 0-2. But you know the free passes are going to get you, I say that all the time, and he gave up a lot of free passes.”