We saw all sides of Alex Faedo for Gators Sunday

The Detroit Tigers knew what they were getting when they drafted Florida ace starter Alex Faedo with the 18th pick of the first round of the Major League baseball Draft last week. Faedo is a mod-90’s fastball guy with a killer slider and changeup that brings it every day and also knows how to channel his emotions. We saw all of that Sunday night as he and the Gators started off the College World Series with a 3-0 win.

 

The man that paints the corners with unhittable pitches showed his fire and his calm Sunday. With a home plate umpire that wasn’t giving much in terms of the lower half of the plate and some corner pitches, Faedo was noticeably perturbed by it. But, when things got a little iffy with runners on the base paths, we saw Faedo settle down and take care of business, regularly mowing down batters at the plate or even on the base paths.

Faedo finished with seven innings of work, striking out a Gator CWS record 11 batters and only allowing two hits and two walks in his time on the mound.

Junior catcher Mike Rivera was behind the plate and says his teammate just knows how to play things out in his mind to do the right thing on the mound.

“He just stays within himself and he doesn't get overwhelmed,” said fellow MLB draftee Rivera who was equally as confused by the strike zone called at home plate Sunday. “That's one of the things I notice. Like no matter how many base runners there are, if an error happens or hit here or there, whatever, you never see him fade away from it. So that's something I respect as a teammate. And it's actually motivation for all of us.”

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan has seen it from Faedo from the time he arrived at Florida.

“I think he's always consistent,” O’Sullivan said. “I remember in the fall of his freshman year, I'm not saying he threw at one of our guys on purpose, but, I mean, he got after it. He's competitive now.

“I don't think today's game is any different than the one he pitched against Kentucky, I don't think it's any different than the one he pitched against Auburn. I think he approaches every game the same.”

Faedo talked about inning three, where he was on the mound with bases loaded and just one out. The strike zone issue was there, but he had the task at hand and he got the last two out with no harm done.

“That was huge,” he said/ “Because I feel like there's always at least one time in the game where something like that will happen to me, where there's either bases loaded or a couple of guys on, and I just -- you have to find a way to get out of that because you know when you get out of that big situation the other team, they kind of maybe fold up a little bit or we get a little bit more confident. And if you can get through that hump, then we always find a way to win, and I think it brings a lot more energy to the team.”

The Major League Draft certainly didn’t seem to affect him and his approach to the games in Omaha. O’Sullivan said Faedo is just a different kind of person as well as ball player.

“He made a heck of a play on a drag bunt today,” O’Sullivan said. “And it might have been one of the plays that kind of gets overlooked.

“I do know this… the Tigers got a pretty good one at pick 18. I've said that all along. He's been our workhorse. And the thing about him, too, we keep talking about how talented he is on the mound, but I honestly mean that he's probably even a better person, better clubhouse guy. You can see by talking to him. He deflects, does not like to talk about himself… loves to talk about his teammates. He's just different. He's a different kid.

Right on point, Faedo was quick to give credit elsewhere for the win on Sunday.

“I thought it was all-around good game,” he said. “The offense kept putting pressure on them, and, I mean, it made it a lot more comfortable for me and gave me a lot of rest between innings, and that helped me a lot, especially being a day game.”

“The training staff and strength coaches here have been doing a great job. And I think usually when guys get tired at the end of the year, maybe our pitching staff is starting to feel better because of the great job they've done with us. Maybe that could be a little bit of it.”

If things go right the next week plus, the gators hope to get Faedo on the mound one more time for another quality win. If he gets that chance, you just know he will take advantage of it.


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