MIAMI -- Still mathematically in the playoff hunt, Nationals manager Dave Martinez hangs those fading hopes somewhat on a group of young pitchers who are still going through the growing pains of performing at the Major League level.It's an interesting dichotomy the Nationals are enduring down the home stretch, with
MIAMI -- Still mathematically in the playoff hunt, Nationals manager Dave Martinez hangs those fading hopes somewhat on a group of young pitchers who are still going through the growing pains of performing at the Major League level.
It's an interesting dichotomy the Nationals are enduring down the home stretch, with varying amounts of success. Monday's 8-5 series-opening loss to the Marlins highlighted the downside.
Right-hander Erick Fedde threw 93 pitches over 4 1/3 innings on Monday, but couldn't finish the fifth inning after allowing two walks followed by a two-run double.
"If he's going to pitch here he's got to get through those moments," Martinez said. "When I watch him things start speeding up on him a little bit. We've got to get him to slow back down and start attacking the strike zone again, and not being afraid of missing bats. Sometimes he gets caught up in that."
It's a lesson Fedde will learn with experience and that's what Martinez is giving him this final month of the season.
"He's going to be a good one," Martinez said. "If we don't let him learn then we'll never know what we're going to get out of him; same thing with [Jimmy] Cordero and [Koda] Glover.
The two faltered out of the bullpen on Monday, combining to give up five runs on six hits in just 1 1/3 innings. The outing was certainly an outlier for Glover.
"Glover's been awesome," Martinez said. "Yesterday, he had a bad outing. I'm going to talk to him today and tell him, 'Hey, put that one aside. You've been really good.' He'll come back Thursday and be ready to go."
Wander Suero is another of those young arms who are still in the learning process. Only three of the 26 inherited runners have scored on the tall right-hander. But his balk in the sixth inning on Monday with runners on first and third allowed the Marlins to break a 4-4 tie and take the lead.
The balk was called on his fourth pick-off attempt at first base. It's an aggressiveness that Martinez finds appealing.
"He's been good," Martinez said. "He's aware; he's picked a runner off. He's done well. Sometimes when he feels like he has to throw a strike is when he gets in trouble. But he's been good."
Martinez would like his other young pitchers to also focus on keeping an eye on runners.
"I think it's something that in general that we all need to be conscious of and work on; just keeping guys close and giving our catchers a chance to throw them out."
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.