In the opener, right-hander Erick Fedde will be called up from Triple-A Syracuse to make his major league debut. On Sunday night, in a game necessitated by Friday night’s rainout, Washington right hander Edwin Jackson will make his 278th career start in his 367th game.
“I spoke to (Jackson) and he made a good point that if that was his first game he’d be a ball of nerves waiting for the second game to come around,” Baker said. “Plus, the young guy, he probably isn’t going to sleep a whole bunch. It’s better to let him pitch that first game.”
Fedde (1-1, 5.57 in 10 games — four of them starts — at Triple-A Syracuse) was Washington’s first-round draft pick (No. 18 overall) in the 2014 draft. After the 2016 season, he was cited as the No. 9 prospect in the Carolina League by Baseball America.
The 24-year-old began this season at Double-A Harrisburg.
“What I liked about him was a statement that he made,” Baker said. “(It) was that he hates to walk people. That’s a pretty good statement coming from a young pitcher. A very good statement.”
Fedde faces fellow rookie Kyle Freeland (10-7, 3.64), who makes his first career start against Washington. Freeland has won his last two starts, allowing two runs and seven hits in 14 1/3 innings, sandwiched around three innings of scoreless work in relief. His 10 wins tie him with teammate Antonio Senzatela (10-4) for the most wins among rookie pitchers.
Another Rockies rookie, German Marquez, pitched seven strong innings as Colorado took the series opener 4-2 on Saturday night. Marquez (9-4) retired the first 16 Nationals before allowing two runs on three hits. He struck out 10 without a walk.
“These guys (the younger starters) are going to continue to grow. They’re young. This is their first full season in the major leagues, and they are learning and growing,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “But games like this really give you a great boost of confidence that you can go up against a really good team and win a game.”
In Sunday’s nightcap, the 33-year-old Jackson (1-1, 4.76 ERA) makes his third start since rejoining the Nationals, who he pitched for in 2012. In his last outing, Jackson allowed seven runs (three earned) in five innings as Washington lost 8-0 to Milwaukee. He is 1-4 with a 10.80 ERA in 14 games (11 starts) versus the Rockies in his career.
Black will counter with right hander Jon Gray (3-1, 5.84 ERA). Gray picked up a no-decision in his last start Tuesday against the Cardinals, when he allowed two runs and eight hits in five innings.
In his only career start against the Nationals, he gave up four runs and six hits in four innings and got a no-decision in a 12-10 Rockies win. Gray is 1-1 with a 7.65 ERA in five road starts this season.
“Tomorrow’s going to be a long one, for both teams. Not just us, but for the Nationals as well,” Black said after Saturday’s win. “The split doubleheaders on getaway day are long ones. We’ll be ready, and it’s nice to get this one for sure.”