Nats' battery sizzles in win over D-backs

April 17th, 2021

WASHINGTON -- The starting pitcher-catcher tandem of and paired up to lead the Nationals to a 6-2 win over the D-backs on Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park.

Fedde dazzled with a career-high-tying nine strikeouts over five innings to earn his first "W" of the season. He allowed five hits, one run and one walk over 95 pitches (60 strikes). The last time Fedde fanned as many batters was Sept. 11, 2018, at Philadelphia.

“I had a few punchouts in the first inning on changeups, which is a big ‘feel’ pitch,” Fedde said. “When you have that early, I think it’s a good sign.”

Fedde is carrying the momentum of a strong Spring Training, which helped him feel like he “can throw any pitch at any count and it’ll be effective.” He noted an improvement since his season debut with locating his cutter up in the zone and throwing breaking balls for strikes early in the count. In his past two starts in place of Jon Lester (on the IL for COVID-19 protocols), Fedde has a 1.86 ERA with 14 strikeouts and seven hits allowed over 9 2/3 innings.

“You can tell he’s not trying to nibble, not wasting pitches, so that was really fun to see,” Gomes said. “You see his confidence start to go up, and you just keep calling whatever you want in there and he’s going to make good pitches.”

With Arizona’s bats quieted, Gomes set the Nationals’ offense in motion using all fields. He belted his first home run of the year, a Statcast-projected 383-foot solo shot to left off Luke Weaver in the second inning. In the fourth, he drove in Andrew Stevenson with an RBI single to right. Gomes added his third hit of the day in the fifth with a single to center.

“The approach is always the same: Try to have good at-bats,” Gomes said. “Overall, it was just a little bit of work that we put in from the first game. I seemed to be kind of getting balls a little bit out in front, rolling them over. I was just trying to stay more inside of it and letting it get a little bit deeper.”

Gomes has put together three multi-hit performances in just six games this season. Two have come in support of Fedde.

“Yan’s been crushing the ball all over, and I’m really happy for him,” Fedde said. “I hope he keeps doing it -- especially when I start.”

On Saturday, Gomes hit seventh in the lineup. Unlike previous games, manager Dave Martinez moved the pitcher from the No. 8 spot down to the nine-hole.

“I joked around with him today a little bit about not batting the pitcher behind him,” Martinez said with a smile. “He hit a home run, so he was excited about that. When Yan stays on the baseball and stays on top and he’s on time, he hits the ball hard. He had a great day today.”

That great day was key to the Nats’ first back-to-back wins of the season and third victory in the past four games.