Washington Nationals: Erick Fedde shows improvement against Cubs


Despite getting a no-decision yesterday, Washington Nationals starter Erick Fedde showed improvement yesterday against the Cubs

In his second outing as a big league pitcher, Washington Nationals right-hander Erick Fedde was faced with a tough test going up against the defending champion Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. He didn’t get the win, but there were still a lot of encouraging signs from Fedde in his outing against one of the best pitchers in the National League, Jon Lester.

In 5.1 innings, Fedde gave up four runs on eight hits, struck out seven, and walked four (one intentional) on 99 pitches (64 strikes). It was the first time that the 24-year-old right-hander has thrown over 90 pitches in an outing since a start for Double-A Harrisburg against Trenton back on May 11. Ironically, that was his last start before moving to the bullpen.

Everything started out great for Fedde. He struck out three of the first five batters he faced. Then, he ran into two out trouble as the Cubs had three straight singles to take a 1-0 lead. Fedde has the pitches to strike out Major League hitters, but finishing hitters off has not been as easy in his first two starts.

The one main concern from yesterday’s game was the home runs. After giving up four home runs as a starter at Double-A and Triple-A, Fedde gave up three home runs with two of them coming off the bat of Willson Contreras. All three home runs came on three different pitches, but in the sixth, he did leave pitches up in the zone.

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After these two starts, what stands out about Fedde is his ability to throw first pitch strikes. Yesterday, he threw 20 first pitch strikes to 26 batters and in two games, he is 38-of-48 in terms of throwing the first pitch in the strike zone (79%). For a rookie, that is an impressive number.

Out of his seven strikeouts, Fedde had a good mix of all three of his pitches. His fastball got up to 95 miles per hour and he was able to throw the ball down in the zone to get Anthony Rizzo to ground into two double plays. He has induced nine groundball outs in each of his first two starts.

It’s never easy for a pitcher in their first two starts and its especially tough to face two good offenses in those starts. Despite a tough challenge in going up against Lester, Fedde held his own and did a good job keeping the Washington Nationals in the game.

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Remember, Fedde is still developing, so the more starts he make, the more comfortable he will be on the major league mound. Stephen Strasburg being on the disabled list will allow him to continue that development. None of his outings have been perfect, but the positives have outweighed the negatives. For a young pitcher, that’s all you can ask for.