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Fedde impressing in rotation, rewarded by bats

Righty goes 5 scoreless in 2nd start; Nats earn 1st 3-game win streak
May 26, 2019

WASHINGTON -- When Erick Fedde was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg in late April, the 26-year-old starter provided a welcome boost to the Nationals' beleaguered bullpen. In his first four career appearances out of the Washington ‘pen, Fedde threw eight scoreless innings. A hamstring injury to Anibal Sanchez has since opened

WASHINGTON -- When Erick Fedde was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg in late April, the 26-year-old starter provided a welcome boost to the Nationals' beleaguered bullpen. In his first four career appearances out of the Washington ‘pen, Fedde threw eight scoreless innings.

A hamstring injury to Anibal Sanchez has since opened the door for Fedde to start again, and the righty has impressed in his two starts back in the rotation.

Box score

In Sunday’s 9-6 win over the Miami Marlins, Fedde scattered four hits across five shutout innings with four strikeouts and three walks (one intentional). It was Fedde's first win of the season, and he lowered his ERA to 2.18.

“I think Fedde doing what he did really got us going,” said manager Dave Martinez after the Nationals secured their first three-game winning streak of the season.

“He did exactly what we needed him to do today. He’s pitching really well. He’s using all his pitches well. His two-seamer is really effective right now, which I like. Plus, he’s throwing his changeup, and his curveball and slider are good. He needs to stay right there and he’ll be back out there in the next five days.”

Fedde had previously thrown five innings of one-run ball Tuesday against the Mets before leaving due to fatigue after 61 pitches. Sunday against Miami, Fedde threw 83 pitches including 51 strikes.

“We have a good progression going,” Fedde said. “Just going to keep that going and hopefully here in the next start or two, I’ll be back to full-fledge. They can let me go as long as I can.”

Granted the sample size is still small and both Sanchez and Jeremy Hellickson may soon return from the IL, but Fedde is at least making a case for a longer look in the rotation.

“My job here is to make it as tough for them to send me down, whether they want me in the rotation or the ‘pen, I’m happy just to help this team get some wins.”

After allowing just one baserunner in the first two innings, Fedde escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third when he struck out Neil Walker swinging with an 81 mph curveball. Fedde pumped his fist as he left the mound with the Nationals still leading, 1-0.

“Those are the moments you find out who you are, for sure,” he said. “It's the big leagues, bases loaded. You get some excitement going and I showed a little emotion there. It's fun.”

First baseman Howie Kendrick had put the Nats ahead with his eighth home run of the season -- a solo blast off Miami’s Caleb Smith -- in the second. The Nationals later created some breathing room with a four-run third, with Kendrick delivering a two-run single and Brian Dozier following with a two-run double.

The Nationals were pleased with how quickly they got to Smith. The Marlins lefty lasted a season-low three innings and was charged with a career-high five earned runs. Prior to Sunday’s game, Smith had not given up more than three earned runs in any of his nine starts this season.

“We’re piecing together some big innings, which is pretty good throughout the middle of the game,” said Dozier, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. “You do that and you’re able to get a good pitcher like Caleb Smith, who’s been throwing the ball really well. If you can get him out of there and get to the bullpen, that was kind of how everything transpired today. We did a good job.”

Kendrick also finished 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs and also reached base on a Brian Anderson throwing error.

“There’s a reason he’s been playing for so long, I don’t even know for how many years,” third baseman Anthony Rendon said of Kendrick. “To have a guy like that who can come in and put the barrel on the ball and he’s a strong -- that man is a bulldog out there.”

Following a 24-minute rain delay in the sixth, the Nationals went back to work with another four-run frame, which included an RBI double from Michael A. Taylor and a two-run triple from Rendon. Juan Soto chipped in with a sac fly and later matched his career high by extending his hitting streak to 10 games (18-for-37).

The Nationals at one point led 9-0, before Walker hit a two-run homer off Javy Guerra in the eighth and Anderson delivered a three-run double off James Bourque in the ninth. Bourque, who was recalled Saturday from Double-A Harrisburg, was making his Major League debut.

With ace Max Scherzer on the mound Monday, the Nationals will be seeking their first four-game sweep since May 10-13, 2018, against the D-backs.

“It’s great,” Martinez said. “Regardless of wins and losses -- and we all want to win -- the boys fight. They play hard, they’re in every game and now it’s gratifying to see us coming out on top. So, we’ll enjoy this one again and come out again tomorrow, we have another early game, and do it again.”