Washington Nationals: Blake Treinen A Postseason X-Factor
With two weeks left in the regular season, the Washington Nationals have gotten some good performances from Blake Treinen in the second half
The Washington Nationals bullpen is going to be under a microscope once this team reaches the postseason. The addition of Mark Melancon at the trade deadline has given the Nats a closer they can rely on in the big moments. The question will be can the bridge to Melancon be trusted in those situations.
One pitcher who has had a great second half out of the bullpen for the Washington Nationals has been right-hander Blake Treinen. On Wednesday, Treinen came in for Tanner Roark in the eighth inning and threw a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts on ten pitches.
While Treinen had a bad night on August 24 against the Orioles (five runs in 2/3 of an inning), the 28-year-old has not given up a run in each of his last eight appearances (four hits and eight strikeouts over that span). If you take out that Orioles game, he’s given up three runs over 25 appearance since July 1.
Over the course of the year, Dusty Baker has used Treinen in some key situations, especially when the Washington Nationals need a double play. This season, Treinen has induced 17 double plays, which is tied for the eighth most of any pitcher (starter or reliever) in the National League.
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When Baker uses his bullpen, he likes to go by the matchups, so Treinen most likely would not get a clean eighth inning. This year, Treinen has a 3.92 ERA in the eighth inning and has a team-high 11 walks. That clean inning would most likely go to Shawn Kelley, who has a 1.21 ERA and 36 strikeouts to go with three walks in the eighth.
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That being said, Treinen is the ideal reliever to go to when you need to get a groundball out. According to Fangraphs, Treinen has the best groundball percentage (66.9%) of any reliever in the National League. Plus, his line drive percentage of 11.9% is the lowest of his career (22% last season).
This season, the pitch that has worked best for Treinen is his slider. According to Brooks Baseball, opponents are hitting a mere .105 (8-for-76) against that pitch with only two home runs. The home runs have not been an issue for Treinen in the second half when you consider he has given up just one home run over that time.
Even though Treinen was on the Washington Nationals roster the last time they made the postseason (2014), he was not one of the relievers to make the postseason roster for that Giants series. This time around, not only will Treinen likely be on the roster, he will be one of those relievers Baker goes to for a couple big outs in high leverage situations for the Nats.