Erick Fedde hadn’t earned a win in more than a month. His last victory came on Aug. 14 against the Orioles, and since then, he had pitched to a pair of losses and no-decisions.
On Friday night in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Marlins Park, Fedde performed like he had been hungry for that ‘W.’ He allowed just one hit and struck out six Marlins over six frames in his strongest outing of the season, a 5-0 Nationals win.
“Especially as we get close to the finish, it’s a good one to build off of,” Fedde said. “If it’s pretty much one more to go for me, that’s a great place to be.”
Fedde began the night with three hitless innings and kept the momentum going against the playoff-chasing Marlins. The righty relied heavily on his sinker (47 of his 91 pitches), which yielded 15 swings and 11 called strikes.
Jesús Aguilar had the only hit off Fedde, a fourth-inning single.
“The key for him is utilizing his fastball, pitching on both sides of the plate,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He did that really well today. Really well. I’m proud of him.”
Facing the Marlins was a welcome change of pace for Fedde. He pitched against the Braves in his last two starts, and the Phillies in the two starts before then.
“It’s nice seeing some new faces, some new reports to read on players, guys that haven’t seen you so recently,” Fedde said. “It’s always tough when, say, you got a guy out on one pitch and you probably know what he’s looking for the next time around. It’s good to go in and mix it up. I’m definitely happy to not be facing those two teams anymore.”
With a strong outing from Fedde, the Nationals needed to make just one call to the bullpen. Will Harris pitched the seventh, maintaining the bullpen for a stretch of five games in three days against Miami, including another doubleheader on Sunday.
“Best-case scenario, for sure,” Fedde said.
From beginning the year as a reliever to being tasked with starting in place of an injured Stephen Strasburg, Fedde put the progress he has made in his third full Major League season on display.
“I feel like with Fedde, he’s just stepped up to whatever role he’s been asked to,” catcher Yan Gomes said. “He doesn’t really have any kind of ego to where he thinks he should be a starter, or whatever it is when he gets down in the bullpen. I think he’s just ready to go out there and give us some good quality innings. Whenever he’s gotten his chance, I think he’s stepped up and done really well. I think he has a pretty bright future ahead of him.”