Senators’ Notebook: Erick Fedde pitching to contact shows maturity
Look anywhere but the 1-2 won-loss record and Erick Fedde’s start to the 2017 campaign is sure to impress. He currently ranks in the top five in the Eastern League in earned run average (1.80), WHIP (0.96), and batting average against (.178) in four starts.
But it’s not just the numbers that point to a better pitcher this year than what we saw at the end of last season. Fedde has shown a maturation this season in how he is attacking hitters and trying to force early, weak contact instead of going for the high strikeout total.
“I think he’s seeing the benefit of using all of his pitches, like his change-up and how he can get quick outs with that,” pitching coach Chris Michalak said.
“With his fastball he can get guys out in the zone with his stuff. He doesn’t have to strike everybody out. That allows him to go deeper into ballgames when he is pitch efficient.”
Manager Matt LeCroy points to a pitcher Fedde shared a clubhouse with this spring as someone the right-hander should emulate.
“Look at (Max) Scherzer, since he came to the National League he’s able to go deeper in the games since he’s getting early contact,” LeCroy said. “For me Fedde’s goal should be putting that ball in play within the first two pitches.”
CATCHING TO CONTACT
With another catcher’s interference on Friday night in Altoona, Raudy Read has now been called for the infraction three times already in the young season. This isn’t something Read has a history of doing either. He went the whole 2016 season at Potomac without it happening, and you have to go back to mid-August 2015 when the backstop was playing for Hagerstown when he got dinged twice in the same week.
HITTING TO CONTACT
One Altoona player the Senators’ pitching staff will be glad to not see again until the first week of June is Connor Joe. The first baseman wore the Senators out in all seven games the two teams have played thus far this season. Joe is batting .588 (10-for-17) with two doubles, one triple, and five runs driven in against the Senators while only hitting .174 against the rest of the league.
In the final contest of the last homestand, Andrew Stevenson led off the game against Reading’s Tom Eshelman with a shot down into the right field corner that allowed Stevenson to slide into third base safely. That triple marked the first one for Harrisburg this season as they were the last team to notch one in the Eastern League.