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Treinen’s rough inning highlights bullpen concerns

Jul 20, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

Jun 25, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Blake Treinen (64) throws to the Atlanta Braves during the ninth inning at Nationals Park. The Washington Nationals won 7 - 0. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

For as historically dominant as Zack Greinke was Sunday afternoon, the Nationals — in a way — actually had the Dodgers right where they wanted them as the ninth inning began.

They were only trailing 1-0, had the top of the order due up in the bottom of the frame and knew that Greinke was done for the day. All that was needed was a scoreless inning from reliever Blake Treinen to have a shot at a very realistic comeback effort.

“He’s a guy that we can go to [in that spot],” said manager Matt Williams. “He’s our long guy. If we tie that game, he’s still in the game. If he gets through that inning easy.”

But unfortunately for Treinen, who hadn’t pitched in over a week, the inning was anything but easy.

It began with back-to-back singles from Justin Turner and Joc Pederson and a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third. Williams then elected to intentionally walk Adrian Gonzalez to load the bases, keeping the double play ball alive against Andre Ethier. But the move backfired, as the Dodgers had three straight singles to plate four additional runs to make it 5-0, thwarting any hopes of walk-off magic.

“Just didn’t make pitches when I needed to,” Treinen said afterward. “Balls found holes. Didn’t put guys away when I was up in the count so when you make mistakes, hitters are going to make you pay.

“[Intentionally walking Gonzalez] should make it easier. It’s a force out once there’s a guy on first. I go out there and throw sinkers and breaking balls down in the zone trying to force contact. I just made a mistake, fastball stayed up and over the zone, and he made me pay for it. Should have made a better pitch.”

The final line wasn’t a pretty one for the 27-year-old righty: Four runs on five hits in just 1/3 innings pitched. Prior to Sunday, he had never allowed more than three runs in any relief appearance in his career.

After his worst outing of the season, Treinen’s ERA now sits at 4.39. Though he hadn’t allowed any runs in his prior six appearances, his latest struggles might have reignited calls from the fanbase for the team to address its bullpen concerns.

Treinen is apart of a relief corps that, aside from closer Drew Storen, appears to be a collection of arms that do not yet have clearly-defined roles. They’ve yet to find their sure-fire, go-to eighth inning option (though veteran Casey Janssen is making his case), and injuries continue to keep things in flux.

It’s clear the Nats agree that they need reinforcements, promoting Abel de los Santos from AA Harrisburg Monday morning. But with the trade deadline less than two weeks away, are more moves in store?

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Jul 20, 2015 at 9:24 AM

    “Treinen is apart of a relief corps that, aside from closer Drew Storen, appears to be a collection of arms that do not yet have clearly-defined roles.”
    ================================

    Is it just me or isn’t the ‘clearly-defined role’ of a relief pitcher to get outs? And avoid giving up runs? With the exception of left-on-left match-ups, should it really matter whether your RP is asked to pitch the 7th or the 8th (or even the 9th)?

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 20, 2015 at 9:37 AM

      +1.

      It ain’t just you. The whole “clearly defined roles” thing can be a crutch and a trap.

      • veejh - Jul 20, 2015 at 9:39 AM

        I know you guys weren’t mad when Clipp came out for all those years in the 8th.

      • bowdenball - Jul 20, 2015 at 9:52 AM

        Funny you should say that, veejh. They didn’t always save Clip for the 8th. Davey Johnson in particular would use him in the 7th if things got hairy and then let him throw in the 8th too, which was great. And when they did preserve him for his role as “setup man” in the 8th even if the other team had a threatening rally going in the 7th it would drive me crazy.

      • Section 222 - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:51 AM

        I wasn’t made when Clip came out for the 8th. But it wasn’t his “clearly defined role” that made Clip good. It was his ability to get the big out when he needed to. Treinen had his chance at the 8th. So did Barrett. They failed. Keeping them in that clearly defined role was not going to make them better. If only it were that easy.

  2. veejh - Jul 20, 2015 at 9:31 AM

    Treinen got BABIP’d on those 1st two batters. After that, it was a flurry of meatballs.

    • nats128 - Jul 20, 2015 at 9:52 AM

      He gets flustered and as we know he seems to be a low K pitcher and mostly a pitch to contact guy. They find holes often dont they.

    • adcwonk - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:06 AM

      Treinen got BABIP’d

      I agree — with one exception: the 0-2 pitch right down the middle to Ethier, who hit a solid single into CF. There were a number of other seeing-eye singles, grounders that found holes.

      • nats128 - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:17 AM

        Treinen like Roark are both struggling with pitch location. I thought the bullpen stepped up this weekend minus these 2.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:18 PM

        And one ball that I would have called an error on Escobar. Went right under his glove, should have been a … well, not easy, but certainly routine GIDP to end the inning. Escobar’s bat has been an unexpected benefit, but his lack of range (exacerbated by how shallow he plays) has been a real problem that isn’t going to go away if they move Treinen and bring in someone else.

  3. veejh - Jul 20, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    repost from previous thread:

    On a positive note, Janssen was once again pretty solid in the 8th. I’m not a huge fan of having pitchers pitch specific innings, but having that 8th inning spot solidified would be nice.

  4. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 10:05 AM

    I don’t think Rizzo is ready to DFA Goodwin. I am hearing 2 moves today with Rendon coming back and the rumored de los Santos move gets 2 corresponding moves in a DFA of Burriss and a AAA option of Treinen.

    Tomorrow is Joe Ross. Shortly after is Jayson Werth and most likely for Difo.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 10:10 AM

      If Burriss is the move than no other DFA is needed at this time.

      The next 40 man spot needed would seem to come from a DFA of Erik Davis. After that then Goodwin.

      The day they decide to call up Trea Turner would need a 40 man spot.

      • masterfishkeeper - Jul 20, 2015 at 10:15 AM

        I assume Jordan goes back to AAA when Ross is called up. Or Solis, I guess, but I think the bullpen is better with three lefties.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 10:17 AM

        Taylor Jordan was the Sunday rental and already sent back.

        Thinking Solis goes back for Ross.

      • nats128 - Jul 20, 2015 at 10:18 AM

        If they wait on September 1st for Trea Turner then the only move would be a 40 man move.

      • jd - Jul 20, 2015 at 10:18 AM

        Ghost,

        I don’t see DFA for Goodwin. He has to have some value still. I think that after the moves you pointed out which are straight forward the next couple of moves (RZim and Span) are a bit trickier. I think Uggla may be on the bubble. Other spots may clear up based on trade transactions.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 10:25 AM

        Then you agree with me. It just puzzled me that some are saying it’s time for a Goodwin DFA. It could happen at some point but Burriss then Erik Davis if needed then Goodwin as next in line..

        Yes den Dekker goes back for Span and it’s the RZim move that is going to sting as MAT gets optioned or Tyler Moore gets the DFA or Rizzo pulls off a trade to clear a spot and that would be super complicated.

      • zmunchkin - Jul 20, 2015 at 10:24 AM

        For one, I am glad Buriss got at AB with Nats, got a hit and scored.

        I just like the idea of a home town guy being in the books for the Nats!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 10:26 AM

        He won’t get picked up and will most likely clear waivers and go back to AAA.

        It was a nice moment for Burriss and his family.

      • masterfishkeeper - Jul 20, 2015 at 10:43 AM

        Let’s hope the Nats are healthy enough to force a tough decision or two. Seems like every time someone comes back someone else gets hurt.

        Not to jinx it, but I suspect some players are playing banged up and could use some rest, maybe a DL stint.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 10:45 AM

        Or a phantom DL which is what Desmond needs.

      • Section 222 - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:53 AM

        “Phantom DL”? When was the last time that happened. H-Rod comes to mind. Anything more recent? It’s just not something Rizzo does.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:56 AM

        Strasburg on the 1st DL was a conglomeration of things and nothing you could argue with but there wasn’t anything you could say like this DL stint that it was __________.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:20 PM

        Dan Haren got the phantom DL. When it happened he wasn’t even sure what it was for! Interestingly, he did pitch better afterwards.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:35 PM

        You’re correct. Shoulder tenderness.

  5. manassasnatsfan - Jul 20, 2015 at 10:07 AM

    What is most disappointing for Trainen’s hit allowed had a 2 trike count.

    He had no put away pitch, when you pitch as fast he does you should have a put away pitch.

  6. masterfishkeeper - Jul 20, 2015 at 10:51 AM

    Nice look at one of the Nats’ prospects, some guy named Giolito:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/nationals-righty-lucas-giolito-impresses-as-expected/

  7. masterfishkeeper - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:02 AM

    Interesting article on yesterday’s strike zone, at least for Greinke:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/60548/bryce-harper-not-impressed-with-zack-greinke

    • nats128 - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:18 AM

      ESPN said on Baseball Tonight that Greinke got the benefit of 10 pitches and 3 of them were against Harper!

      • nats128 - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:21 AM

        I guess if I read the article first it would have given the same info and it did.

        “In Sunday’s game, according to ESPN Stats & Info data, Greinke had 10 pitches out of the strike zone that were called strikes. They weren’t all six inches of the plate, but you can understand Harper’s frustration: Three of the 10 pitches came against him, including getting called out on a 1-2 fastball in the first inning.”

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:33 AM

        Did they say how many Scherzer got?

      • nats128 - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:41 AM

        Yes, they said in comparison that Scherzer got away with 4 but they said only 2 were well off the plate. The pitches Scherzer got were outside pitches. Greinke got pitches that were outside and inside. One pitch they said against Wilson Ramos was so far in that it came inside the batter’s box.

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:43 PM

        TY 128

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:21 AM

      I thought the call on Michael A was worse than the one to Harper, outside and low. But the funniest was to Adrian Gonzalez, where he froze with his bat up like he was holding an umbrella, looked down, turned his head to the ump, and just walked away shaking his head.

      • nats128 - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:44 AM

        They had video of Kershaw yelling at the ump on the Adrian Gonzalez strikeout. Harper has a true beef. 3 pitches went against him and one would have been a walk that turned into a K.

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:22 AM

      Interesting thing in that article — another interesting thing — Gio gets the as much benefit in calls that Greinke does.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:28 AM

      Bryce took some tough calls, and I can understand him being po’ed.

      What I don’t understand is why more “journalists” aren’t calling BS on this. Scherzer was getting the same strike zone.

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:35 AM

        It didn’t feel like Scherzer got nearly as many generous calls, to me, but the zone was crap all day. Did they say how many OOZ strikes the Nats got calls on?

      • micksback1 - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:36 AM

        the HP was terribe for both teams but he is not the worst ump I have seen this season and that is pretty sad and a poor reflection on MLB

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:43 AM

        I don’t know how to do the embed images like others do, but you can find the brooks baseball maps here:

        http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/zoneTrack.php?&game=gid_2015_07_19_lanmlb_wasmlb_1/&innings=yyyyyyyyy&month=07&day=19&year=2015

        It was really egregious to lefties. There were from my quick skim a dozen outside pitches called as strikes to lefties, and it was either evenly split bwn Nats and LA pitchers, or maybe even 7-5 in our favor (the marks overlap and are a little hard to read).

      • nats128 - Jul 20, 2015 at 1:50 PM

        Look at how far Greinke got on the K Zone vs the righthanders

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 20, 2015 at 2:06 PM

        Correct–2 really lousy calls there vs righties. Max got one too, tho it was up and not as far outside.

        But of course Bryce is a lefty, and I don’t think those 2 pitches were really what he was complaining about.

        If you post the map vs LH batters, that’s where you see the cloud of called outside strikes that I mentioned. The ump was certainly not calling a regulation zone, but he wasn’t really favoring one team.

  8. jd - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:29 AM

    Since Rendon is coming back real soon and the only game he played in the minors was at 3rd base, are we to assume that this is where he will be when he returns? Esco to SS and Espi to 2nd?

    • masterfishkeeper - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:34 AM

      Reasonable guess, although I could see Escobar getting a few days off. He’s still not moving all that well, and I worry how good he’d be at SS.

      I’d prefer Espi at SS, and Escobar at 2B, but I’m sure MW won’t do that, worrying that Escobar hasn’t played 2B this year. I still think he’d pick it up quickly.

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:59 AM

      Well, they said he was playing third because he didn’t need to force his range so much there, with presumably less risk of re-injury while they were testing it and rehabbing him. Unless they sit Desmond and move Escobar to short, I can’t see putting Rendon at third. But that’s just me, not Matt or Rizzo.

  9. micksback1 - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    Nats margin for error is very thin in the BP, maybe Jannssen and Thornton can do the job. I never have been a Treinan fan and he just looks the part of a guy with no confidence. All he had to do was keep the game at 1 run. I know I have seen enough of him to know that he has no business pitching in October and he makes Mr. Softie look like General Patton.

    Having said that, I was diassapointed in Bryce yesterday. I know you can not be perfect and YES, he is the NL MVP hands down as of now. But, his attitude was childish yesterday, walking down first base after a called strike and swinging at a clear ball 4. Maybe the heat got the best of him, He gets pass for yesterday, but I hope he keeps his cool next time. This umpire sucked, but he is not the worst of the group of terrible umpires in MLB.

    As far as Desi goes….this is ridiculous!!

    Look, if there is something personal going on in his life, then I understand. if there is an injury, I understand. But, I do not think this is the case. Is Desi simply a selfish head case who is upset about his free agent status, meaning he comes before the team?

    He is killnig this team he is toxic and he is an automatic out for any pitcher he faces. If he is healthy and there are no personal problems, get him the hell out of here, I’m begging ya Mike!!!

    • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:38 AM

      Desmond couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat right now, and he gives great hope to the rest of us who blame our gloves for errors, but from everything I’ve ever heard or seen from outside the clubhouse, toxic is the very last thing this guy is.

      • micksback1 - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:42 AM

        maybe your right, but could it get toxic if he reamins in the lineup and his AVG dips below 200?

      • jd - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:53 AM

        Mick,

        I don’t think it’s attitude, I don’t think it’s the contract I think it’s just the nature of his very aggressive swing which once it goes south it’s very tough to stop the bleeding. I don’t think the answer is to send him out there every day but with all the injuries there wasn’t much MW could do.

        Keep in mind that Rizzo already acquired Desi’s successor and as luck would have it he is probably nearly ready to step in right now. I think there are other issues such as service time and roster spots which are holding Turner back a bit and I also think that Rizzo would prefer to hold Turner back at least until Desi is no longer on the team, stay patient. Things will sort themselves out soon.

        BTW when you are hitting as poorly as Desi who cares if it’s 205 or 195. What’s the difference?

      • micksback1 - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:02 PM

        jd:

        I assume you mean Trea Turner who by all acounts we will see in September. My only concern for 2015 is why are both Phil Wood and Mike Wallace (whom I like and respect) saying that Turner is not ready this season but will be in 2016? i have yet to understand this

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:02 PM

        But it is an interesting question, if (we hope) academic: How bad would it have to get before they do sit him?

        I’ll take .167 +/- .003 in the pool.

    • nats128 - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:52 AM

      I give Bryce a pass on swinging at a bad pitch because the strike zone was a complete joke and I guess he swung at what he thought he get called on for a backwards K.

      For ESPN to go out of there way to report fairly on it is a good thing. They ran his rant after the game about Greinke but they followed it up with 3 video replays to back up his point. Normally Bryce is made out to be a villain and he has a right to be pi$$ed. Greinke got the benefit of every close pitch on his nibbling and then got the benefit of 10 pitches off the black!

      On Desi, Im not going to speculate. He smoked a ball on Saturday going oppo and it was right to Puig. You usually break out of a slump when you get something to drop in. I like the idea of a phantom DL stint to allow him to get back on track in the Minors.

      • jd - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:55 AM

        nats128,

        More than that I think Desi needs to go somewhere new. Hit the reset button and start fresh.

      • jd - Jul 20, 2015 at 11:57 AM

        The other thing adding to Harper’s frustration is that he is pretty much the entire offense these days.

      • nats128 - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:01 PM

        Yes.

      • micksback1 - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:00 PM

        your probably right on that point about Bryce. I hope MlB has their best umps in October.

      • Soul Possession, My Sofa - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:05 PM

        You usually break out of a slump when you get something to drop in.

        On occasions, hitters have been known to break out of slumps by SWINGING AT #^%$*&ING STRIKES!

      • nats128 - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:08 PM

        Thats also my thinking on this. The guy needs a lucky break to get him started.

  10. Doc - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:00 PM

    Desi is now in Mendoza territory, with no obvious way out. Time for the extraction!

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