Results tagged ‘ Erick Fedde ’
The Hartford Yard Goats scored five unanswered runs to top the Harrisburg Senators 6-5 on Saturday night at FNB Field. The Senators had raced out to an early 5-1 lead but couldn’t hold on for the victory.
Harrisburg starter Erick Fedde allowed a two-run home run to Collin Ferguson in the top of the sixth inning but left in line for the win up 5-3. Reliever Phillips Valdez was knocked around for three runs on three hits including a double off the bat of Elvin Soto that Zach Collier couldn’t corral in front of the wall in left-center field.
“We were right there, we just didn’t finish it,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “(Valdez) elevated the ball, and they made him pay for it.”
Fedde started for the Senators scattering five hits and allowing three runs over seven solid innings. It was an encouraging outing to see from the 24-year-old righthander after he couldn’t get out of the fourth inning against the Thunder in his previous start.
“He was a two-pitch pitcher in Trenton,” pitching coach Chris Michalak said. “That worked great the first time through the order, you can get away with it. But that second time through if they only have two options, they can eliminate one.”
Against the Yard Goats on Saturday night, Fedde once again made sure to utilize his change-up as part of his repertoire. Something he failed to do in Trenton.
“Tonight there was a focus of using it again,” Michalak said. “He threw 24 change-ups and it made all of his other pitches better. It was a legitimate swing and miss pitch.”
Osvaldo Abreu was ejected by home plate umpire Patrick Sharshel when the shortstop slammed his bat down after getting rung up on strikes in the fifth inning. LeCroy relayed that Abreu didn’t say anything to Sharshel, instead he was ejected solely for his outburst that ended up breaking his bat upon impact.
Rule 9.01 (d) gives umpires the authority to disqualify any player for “unsportsmanlike conduct” so Sharshel was well within his rights, but the ump has to let that go in that situation.
Fedde threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 28 batters he faced…four Senators (Drew Ward, Collier, Alec Keller, and Abreu) registered multi-hit games…Jake Johansen worked a scoreless ninth inning in relief.
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.
The Harrisburg Senators’ homestand ended the same way it began with the offense mired in a week-long slump as the Reading Fightin’ Phils won 4-2 on Wednesday night.
Despite seven hits and two walks, the Senators struggled to cobble sustained rallies together. The Senators put the leadoff batter on base in six of the nine innings but two double plays and poor at-bats contributed to only scoring once off those opportunities.
Harrisburg was hitless in five at-bats with runners in scoring position and the two runs they scored were a product of the two extra-base hits they had on the evening: a triple by Andrew Stevenson and a solo home run by Drew Ward.
“Running that lineup through we get guys in scoring position but it seems like it’s with two outs,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “The at-bats lately have been quick and early. A lot of early outs. It’s looking like they’re trying to not to strike out, instead of competing and battling.”
In the five games at FNB Field against the Baysox and Phillies, the Senators scored only 10 runs and collectively batted .191 while striking out 48 times.
“It’s just been a tough time offensively scoring runs,” LeCroy said.
Erick Fedde took the hill for his fourth start this season and although the righthander scattered only four hits in seven innings the Washington Nationals’ top pitching prospect collared the loss.
The big blow happened in the fifth inning when Fedde grooved a fastball to opposing pitcher Tom Eshelman who crushed it for a three-run home run. But both manager and pitching coach Chris Michalak pointed to another at-bat earlier in the frame when Fedde walked Mitch Walding as the key to the sequence of fateful events.
“It might not have been the pitch to the pitcher that got him trouble, but it was three hitters before with the walk,” Michalak said. “They always come back to bite you.”
“I thought what got him was when he pitched around the guy that was hitting a buck fifty,” LeCroy said with a slight exaggeration of Walding’s numbers so far this season.
ICYMI — Last Night’s Roll Call
Drew Ward popped his second home run of the season…Wander Suero and RC Orlan each threw a scoreless inning of relief…Ozzie Abreu was removed from the game after the bottom of the second inning for failing to run hard out of the box on a play he was thrown out at second base.
The entire Eastern League has a day off on Thursday before resuming play the next day. The Senators turn to starter Mark Blackmar when they take on the Curve at 6 PM in Altoona at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Friday night.
Charles Dickens began his classic novel A Tale of Two Cities with the famous opening line, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” After a week and a half of games, the same could very easily be said of Senators’ players Raudy Read and Ozzie Abreu. Both are getting their first taste of Double-A Harrisburg to start the 2017 season and while one prospect flourishes, the other flails.
Read, a 23-year-old catcher, has adapted to the better pitching and looks like he has already made the necessary adjustments to succeed at this level. In eight games so far, Read has four doubles and two home runs while driving in seven runs to match Neftali Soto for the team lead.
“I think going to big league camp and comparing himself to all these other players, he realizes he’s close. He sees if he goes out and competes and plays the game right, he’s there,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “I think that shows in the way he’s been going out and doing his work.”
Throughout his career, Read has been known as an offense first option behind the plate, but the backstop has impressed his skipper with other tools. “I think he’s done a really nice job with our pitching staff. That’s what I’ve been pleased with,” LeCroy said.
On the other hand, Abreu has struggled in his opening salvo with the Senators. The 22-year-old shortstop is hitting a meager .147 thanks to only five singles in 35 plate appearances. At the plate Abreu appears overwhelmed at times as evident by his 15 strikeouts. “The game is a little faster at this level, but I think he’ll catch up,” LeCroy said pointing to Abreu’s respectable numbers in the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League last fall where he slashed .267/.303/.317.
After batting second during the opening week, LeCroy moved the scuffling Abreu down to eighth for Saturday’s game. Hopefully, the lower spot in the batting order will take pressure off the shortstop until he can get his feet under him.
PITCHING LEADS THE WAY
Although the Senators came away with only one win in their three game set against Bowie, Harrisburg has to be happy with the way they pitched against the potent Baysox lineup. In the first seven games of the season against Akron and Erie, Bowie averaged over seven runs a game and had clubbed 33 extra-base hits including 11 home runs. The Senators limited the veteran lineup to just 12 total runs and only four doubles and one home run in the entire series.
Overall, the Senators pitching has been their strongest asset so far as the staff has posted a 3.20 ERA (second only to Altoona in the Eastern League) and given away the fewest base on balls in the league. Led by Nationals’ top pitching prospect Erick Fedde,the starting pitchers have been excellent so far this season and have carried the load admirably. In two starts, Fedde has tossed 11 scoreless innings while holding opponents to a .171 batting average. As a unit, the starters are pitching to a 2.50 ERA while allowing a minuscule 1.09 WHIP.
CLEANING UP FROM THE CLEAN-UP SPOT
Much like he did last season for 93 games, Neftali Soto has provided the big veteran bat the Senators need in the middle of their lineup. He has provided protection for Drew Ward batting in front of him and has taken some pressure off Double-A rookies Read and Alec Keller behind him. Soto is in the top ten in the league in batting with a .382 average and has only whiffed twice in 39 plate appearances for an Eastern League best rate of 19.5 TPA/SO.
COMINGS AND GOINGS
The injuries to Trea Turner and Stephen Drew at the major league level caused a ripple effect down to the Senators as they embarked on their first road trip of the season. Adrian Sanchez, who had played second base this season but can handle multiple positions defensively, was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse. To fill Sanchez’s roster spot, the Senators activated Zach Collier off the disabled list and the outfielder went 2-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored in his first game action on Saturday afternoon.
Prior to the team arriving in Harrisburg, many of the players drove their vehicles up from spring training so they would have a means of getting around town. The coaching staff is normally not any different, but ths season LeCroy chose to fly here. In the past he has done this at least once before, but then he had gotten a player (Jose Lozada) to drive his pickup truck to the midstate. This time, though, LeCroy pulled what he called “a veteran move” when he left his vehicle here after this year’s Hot Stove banquet in late January.