The 2015 season has been a trying one for the Washington Nationals, and reliever Blake Treinen is certainly no exception. The right-hander surprised many as a rookie in 2014 and look poised for a big sophomore season with the potential to lock down a late innings role.
That plan did not go accordingly, as Treinen struggled particularly early in the season, with his ERA ballooning to 6.00 in early May. He would later spend two weeks at Triple-A Syracuse in late July and early August.
Treinen, however, has shown improvement as of late with the regular season nearing its end. In Saturday's win over the Marlins, he recorded a hold with an impressive eighth inning. He needed only six pitches, five of them strikes.
That escaped the Nats from a situation with two men on and no outs. Lefty Sammy Solis started the inning and allowed back-to-back singles to Christian Yelich and Justin Bour. Treinen got out of it by inducing a double play groundball from Marcell Ozuna, and then a strikeout of Derek Dietrich.
That eighth inning set Jonathan Papelbon up for the save and gave the Nats their sixth win in seven games. Despite their longshot odds to make the playoffs, they did cut the NL East deficit to seven games with the victory.
"He was put in a really important situation today," manager Matt Williams said. "We wanted to stay off [Matt Thornton]. He was two days in a row and Felipe [Rivero] has been five out of seven but we figured we could use Felipe today. Got two guys on and nobody out and he’s able to induce the double play and then get Dietrich as well."
Treinen has now logged five consecutive scoreless appearances. He has a 2.25 ERA in 21 games since returning from Triple-A.
"He’s getting more and more accustomed to that role. He can be a back of the bullpen guy for us," Williams said.