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Nats’ bullpen sets up Treinen to start

May 6, 2014, 3:21 AM EDT

Photo by the Associated Press Photo by the Associated Press

With a 3-hour, 17-minute rain delay taking starter Jordan Zimmermann out of the game, the Nationals laid out a plan for their bullpen on Monday that could have very easily come back to bite them.

Instead of going with one of his long relievers, Matt Williams opted to instead patch together the final five innings of Monday’s (technically Tuesday’s) 4-0 win over the Dodgers. Aaron Barrett, Jerry Blevins, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano all pitched one inning apiece, and all five did their jobs about as well as Williams could have hoped for.

Though lots could have gone wrong, it worked, and now the Nationals are set to start right-hander Blake Treinen on Tuesday night with both Craig Stammen and Ross Detwiler available for long relief.

“That’s how you plan it,” Williams said. “It doesn’t always go to plan, but tonight that’s the way we planned it.”

Treinen was called up after the game with reliever Ryan Mattheus sent down to make room. Treinen will make his first career major league start in just his fourth MLB game.

Treinen holds a 1.59 ERA in four starts with Triple-A Syracuse this season, but has not pitched longer than five innings in 2014. His last outing was a one-inning appearance on May 3, basically a bullpen session to prepare him for Tuesday.

Williams has confidence the young hurler – who will be facing off with Clayton Kershaw – can pitch well.

“Blake’s been starting, he’s been in that regular rotation,” Williams said. “We certainly wanted to stay away from Stammen and [Detwiler] the last couple of days. We had the opportunity to do that, so we have some length, but Blake’s going to start it for us.”

After Zimmermann’s four-inning night was cut short because of the weather delay, the Nats’ bullpen combined to throw five more scoreless innings. Blevins, Storen and Clippard each allowed hits, but that was it for runners reaching base.

The Nationals’ bullpen now sports a 1.89 ERA through 105 total innings this season. They have been reliable for Williams, and tonight they came through when he really needed them.

“That’s important for us. We know that if in fact we can’t play that game, that game is washed out and potentially a day-night tomorrow. Then we’re in rough shape. I’m glad we stuck it out and we’re able to win it and now we don’t have to worry about two tomorrow, we only have to worry about one.”

Nate McLouth sore after running into wall

Outfielder Nate McLouth left the Nationals’ win in the eighth inning after a violent collision with the wall in left field. He caught a Dee Gordon line drive while sliding into foul territory and was slow to get up after slamming into the padded embankment.

Williams does not believe McLouth will miss any time.

“I think his knee will be sore, but he should be good,” Williams said. “He’s okay. Banged his knee pretty good, pulled his thumb back a little bit, cut himself open pretty good, but no stitches. He should be fine.”

As we’ve seen before – including several times this season – sometimes injuries are later revealed to be much more serious than initially described. For now McLouth appears to be fine, but it’s certainly something to watch over the next few days, especially given his value in Bryce Harper’s absence.

  1. Dave - May 6, 2014 at 5:28 AM

    Treinen? I must say, I don’t get this.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 7:52 AM

      They don’t want to burn out the bullpen. Treinen starts and goes as long as he can.

  2. micksback1 - May 6, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    Oh what a DC Sports Night!!

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    Instead of going with one of his long relievers, Matt Williams opted to instead patch together the final five innings of Monday’s (technically Tuesday’s) 4-0 win over the Dodgers. Aaron Barrett, Jerry Blevins, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano all pitched one inning apiece, and all five did their jobs about as well as Williams could have hoped for.

    With that slim 2-0 lead, I think going inning by inning was smart to conserve that lead rather than trust the game to a long man and that’s what Mattingly did also.

    Nothing against Ross but we’ve seen him shakey recently. Bullpen was outstanding and the strategy paid off. Nobody was overworked and the Nats got 2 insurance runs off of the Dodgers bullpen.

    • unterp - May 6, 2014 at 8:26 AM

      they need to trade Detwiler. They, or Matty, don’t/doesn’t have a function for him. They don’t need him in the bullpen…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 8:30 AM

        I think he needs to be a 1 inning guy and turn him loose. Let him throw gas. He’s a quality lefty and they are hard to find.

      • unterp - May 6, 2014 at 8:32 AM

        agree.

      • masterfishkeeper - May 6, 2014 at 8:53 AM

        Also agree. Ross should be a very strong reliever for short stretches.

      • therealjohnc - May 6, 2014 at 9:34 AM

        Trading Detwiler with five months to go in the season would be foolish IMHO. You never know where the injury bug is going to bite next, and the Nats may well need Detwiler in the rotation before all is said and done.

        If this was more than a one off, brought about by juggling the rotation to skip the #5 starter while waiting on Fister, I suspect that Detwiler would get the call.

      • therealjohnc - May 6, 2014 at 9:37 AM

        This also lets them get the start in from Treinan without disrupting the bullpen by pulling Detwiler out for several days. Mattheus out, Treinan up to start today, then Treinan will be sent back when Fister is activated from the DL for Friday’s start.

  4. Section 222 - May 6, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    The key to being able to do this, of course, is having a solid bullpen where every guy can be relied on for an inning. Can you imagine Davey trying this a year ago with H-Rod? Notice that Mattheus did not get the call.

    If even one guy blows up, you need to turn to Stammen or Det. Thank goodness everyone was sharp. Barrett really set the tone. And MW set it up well to use Blevins against two lefties. Nicely done.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 9:27 AM

      All good points and I think MW didn’t want to tip his hand so it seemed to be a decoy when he had Detwiler stretching in the bullpen as the teams were re-warming.

      Once Mattingly picked Brandon League as his reliever and not to a long reliever it was wise of MW to go to Barrett and set this up as a inning by inning matchup. Like you said, great job inserting Blevins at the top of the order.

      Nats shut down Dee Gordon who had been getting on base recently near a .500 clip.

      Also true with Davey’s bullpen was always like having the 7 cartridge gun while missing 2 bullets during a shootout.

      • Section 222 - May 6, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        Davey always said he liked to have an A bullpen and a B bullpen, both equally capable of pitching in games we were winning. It’s a great concept, but he never pulled it off. Instead, there were some guys who pitched when we were winning, and others did mop up. That’s the way most bullpens operate. I think we saw last night that five of our seven (currently eight) guys are fully capable of giving a solid inning in a high leverage situation. Clearly Stammen can as well. I doubt MW will embrace an A and B bullpen arrangement, but it’s a real luxury to have such depth.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 10:23 AM

        When Barrett and Clip are on, this bullpen is excellent.

        Detwiler is bot being used properly. He can be throwing 95+ gas if they would make him a 1 inning guy or a situational stopper.
        Davey always had questionable bullpens and that’s what lost Game 5.

        I hope the Mets don’t figure it out because their bullpen is their Achilles Heel.

  5. natsjackinfl - May 6, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    Really like this move. Blake gets to start his 1st ML game and the Nats have 2 long men in reserve.

    I have no idea what to expect out of Kershaw but have to believe he’s on a pretty strict pitch count.

    And I guess the Marlins must have been texting the upcoming Harang pitch to the Cardinals dugout last night because he gave up 9 hits in just 6 innings.

    • masterfishkeeper - May 6, 2014 at 8:55 AM

      I think Kershaw threw more than 80 pitches in his last rehab assignment, so I expect he can go 100 tonight, as long as it isn’t concentrated in a few innings. Unfortunately.

    • knoxvillenat - May 6, 2014 at 9:41 AM

      “..texting the upcoming Harang pitch to the Cardinals dugout …”

      LMAO at that one!!

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - May 6, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      The Marlins are selling the Braves’ signs to recoup the costs of scouting them. They are also apparently stealing Justin Upton’s signs at the plate.

      • Eugene in Oregon - May 6, 2014 at 10:02 AM

        Come on, folks. It wasn’t the Marlins. It was the guy in the red hat. Who I now realize was probably NatsJack.

      • ArVAFan - May 6, 2014 at 10:38 AM

        Of course it was NatsJack: the guy in the red hat left to get a beer! (We tease because we love).

  6. unterp - May 6, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    Wow, the Braves have lost 7 straight and still are 3 games above .500

    • pdowdy83 - May 6, 2014 at 9:11 AM

      3 games over .500 yes. But a half a game back of the Nats now. haha

  7. Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    2 criticisms on the game.

    1 was Jayson allowing that oppo double over his head by Hanley. We know Kemp and Hanley have had JZim’s # in the past and Jayson couldn’t let anything over his head. Luckily Hanley was stranded at 1st.

    2 was the bottom of the 7th. Leon singles and Walters comes in as a lefty against Brian Wilson. He hasn’t a hit LH all season so why not bunt him. This is the 2nd time MW had this exact situation as he had it in that extra innings Padres loss. Bunt Leon to 2nd. Walters Ks on 3 pitches. Then Span doubles and puts 3rd and 2nd instead of scoring Leon from 2nd if he was bunted over. Then Rendon has the perfect RBI op and works it 3-0 and Ks on 3 straight sliders making it 2 outs. Must put bat on ball. ALR does the same and and Ks on a 3-2 pitch.

    Luckily, on this night none of it matters as Nats won and we can debate once again whether you bunt in that situation.

  8. adcwonk - May 6, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    Wonk’s Tuesday’s Tidbits

    – Braves. Seven straight. Just like writing it.

    – LaRoche is now 4th in NL in OBP, 8th in OPS. Rendon is 9th in total bases, 6th in XBH. Span is 7th in fewest K/AB, and is 7th in the league in WPA (!!) (Werth is 4th).

    – Blevins is just one game off leading in league in pitching appearances.

    – Nats moved up to 2d best ERA in NL (behind the Braves).

    – Poor Bo — Astros have worst BA in AL *and* worst ERA in AL.

    – Through 14 games at Coors Field this season, Troy Tulowitzki is .596/.667/1.106

    – Starter Jared Weaver of the LA Angels had allowed 1 run in 7 innings and went out to pitch the 8th. He gave up a single to the OF, an infield single, then a bunt single. Manager left him in. He got a K and a DP. Then in the bottom of the inning, the Angels got 3 runs on no hits and no errors no passed balls no wild pitches. How’d they do it? (Answer at bottom).

    – Greinke had been unbeaten in his previous 13 starts (9-0) vs. NL East teams. Espi’s HR was off of Baez, who had just been called up and was making his MLB debut. Quite a welcome to “the show”.

    – Do wins by pitchers mean anything? Ask JZ about lastl night? How about Jeff Samardzija. He had quite a game: while batting he broke up a no-hitter; and as pitching he ended up pitching a complete game 3 hitter — allowing only 1 unearned run. He lost. He’s 0-3 with an ERA of 1.62 (!!)

    – Jose Bautista has been on base in 32 consecutive games — last night the streak was saved by an HPB.

    – Giants beat Pirates 11-10 in 13 innings — on a throwing error off of a bunt by a batter who hadn’t bunted in over 10 years.

    – Trivia question: who has the longest hitting streak in the majors this season (which happens to be currently active — 25 games)?

    – (Answer to the 3 runs-no hits question above: Angels got 3 runs last night in the 8th inning by virtue of six walks (off of three different Yankee pitchers)).

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    - Do wins by pitchers mean anything? Ask JZ about lastl night? How about Jeff Samardzija. He had quite a game: while batting he broke up a no-hitter; and as pitching he ended up pitching a complete game 3 hitter — allowing only 1 unearned run. He lost. He’s 0-3 with an ERA of 1.62 (!!)

    adcwonk, do you remember June 29 2011? JZim threw a complete game giving no earned runs and took the L in a 1-0 game with a 4 hitter against the Angels. The opposing pitcher – Dan Haren.

    Nats starters were: Bernadina, Bixler, Stairs, Espinosa, JHairston, Pudge, Cora with RZim and Morse. Jayson Werth and Desi both entered that game as pinch-hitters.

    The unearned run came on a RZim error.

    • adcwonk - May 6, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      The Nats have come a long way since the days when: Bixler, Stairs, JHairston, and Cora all had to start at the same time!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 10:30 AM

        I thought you’d enjoy that but my main point was how JZim’s start that day was eerily similar to that of Samardjia.

        Bixler had a key outfield assist that day!

    • Section 222 - May 6, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      That is one ugly lineup.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 10:49 AM

        Sure was. Hard to believe how 2011 turned out with that lineup and JDub’s struggles that season and LaRoche’s injury and on and on.

  10. Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    “@AdamKilgoreWP: .@JamesWagnerWP has news on Blake Treinen starting. Maybe the Nats will let Detwiler put out gum and sunflower seeds?”

    Sad but true. Detwiler must’ve pissed someone off.

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 6, 2014 at 10:29 AM

      …if Ross Detwiler pissed someone (the GM, the manager) off, it was because he failed to develop the good second and adequate third pitches that a MLB starter needs.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 10:32 AM

        No doubt he cost himself the starters job because of that but utilize this guy as a fireballer lefty.

      • Eugene in Oregon - May 6, 2014 at 10:33 AM

        Absolutely agree on that.

    • 6ID20 - May 6, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      There are two reasons why Detwiler is still on this team. (1) He’s a lefty. (B) He’s out of options. Note that “he’s a good pitcher” does not appear on that list.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 11:18 AM

        One and two are both true. Still not a reason to not utilize him as a bullpen weapon instead of how Kilgore described him this morning as the gum/seeds guy.

        For me to support Ross is genuine as everyone knows I never saw Ross as a starter but rather as a relief weapon. He’s where he should be in the bullpen but used as an integral part instead of a punchline of a joke.

        I’m sure there are teams that would trade for him as their 4th starter. He just isn’t good enough as a starter on this team.

        Wouldn’t be surprised if Ross was given off-season goals to work on and didn’t meet them which sealed his fate as a starter and possibly put him in the doghouse.

        Move forward, not backwards.

      • 6ID20 - May 6, 2014 at 11:47 AM

        As a bullpen weapon Detwiler is firing blanks. Basically the only role he has performed adequately in is mop-up guy. Don’t be surprised if they DFA him as soon as Fister is back.

      • texnat1 - May 6, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        He is certainly a better pitcher than Jordan or Trienen, or at least better than the latter has ever shown.

  11. NatsLady - May 6, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    I know it’s mostly on the pitchers, but I hope this doesn’t change when Ramos gets back. Nats are 2nd in MLB.

    Although Lobaton’s offense is average for a catcher (.250/.329/.382 OPS+ 97), he has helped the Nats cure their stolen base problems, with the team now nailing 8 of 19 (58%). In 2013 the Nats were last in theft-prevention, with almost 83% of attempts succeeding.

    • NatsLady - May 6, 2014 at 10:23 AM

      It reads funny because the stolen base percents are the success rate of the runners, not the catchers. ;)

    • adcwonk - May 6, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      I think Sandy Leon, too, has thrown out about 50%, no?

      • NatsLady - May 6, 2014 at 10:50 AM

        He’s done good, and earned himself a trip back to the minors.

  12. tcostant - May 6, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    The only question, is why not let Ryan Mattheus finish the game when you where up 4-0 and save an arm for another day, since by then you knew he would be going down to AAA anyway.

    • Section 222 - May 6, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      The answer may be that MW really wanted to win the game. :-)

    • NatsLady - May 6, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      Two reasons. (1) Would you trust Mattheus with a four-run lead?
      (2) I believe Soriano was already geared up fo the “save.” He’s got that “games finished” clause in his vesting option, and I wouldn’t want to tick him off needlessly, with the streak he’s got going.

      • adcwonk - May 6, 2014 at 11:43 AM

        I think it was all #2.

        Soriano was ready to go, warmed up, primed for the save — then suddenly the 2 R HR by Espi. Why bother wasting Sori’s arm, who was already fairly warmed up?

        Plus, Soriano had pitched only once since last Tuesday (Apr 29).

        So, he’s already up, warming — keep him going, keep him fresh, etc.

        (My other thought at the time last night (or early this morning): *if* he has to lose his 20-whatever scoreless inning streak, it’d sure be nice it it were with a big lead, no?)

    • tcostant - May 6, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      Mattheus looked fine when he pitched earlier. If two guys get on, you can always bring in Soriano there and he can get “his” save. It just was a simple way to save an extra arm. But I guess MW is not think he can win two more close games in a row, as Soriano won’t be saving the next two game.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 11:33 AM

        How’s about a history lesson.

        April 28 2012. Nats vs Dodgers and Strasburg pitches a 7 inning gem. it’s Bryce’s debut and everyone is smellin a win with a 3-1 lead.

        Davey gives HenRod the 9th. Nats lose 4-3.

        What if Mattheus gives hits to AGon and Kemp, then what?

        Absolutely the correct decision.

      • Section 222 - May 6, 2014 at 12:01 PM

        I’m with you Ghost. We had a lead, the bullpen had pitched flawlessly, Soriano has been on fire, and he was warmed up and ready. No need to risk a demoralizing defeat.

    • jd - May 6, 2014 at 12:11 PM

      Clearly the brass doesn’t trust Mattheus in anything more than a mop up role.

  13. jd - May 6, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Minor league notes:

    Solano is off to a great start with the bat.
    Goodwin has a .372 OBP
    Hood was promoted from AA and has continued to hit really well.
    Hill, Tatusko and Laffey have pitched well. Garcia is on the DL

    In Harrisburg no one is doing particularly well. Skole OBP is .228. Cole’s ERA is 3.63 and he normally doesn’t get past the 5th inning – disappointing. Solis is on the DL..

    Potomac is doing well but I’m not sure they have any note worthy prospects.

    Hagerstown has been our best minor league team this year with a 22 – 7 record. Giolito is pitching well (3.02 ERA) he generally goes 5 or 6 innings per start and his numbers aren’t quite what some expected at this level and he’s still only 19.

    • Joe Seamhead - May 6, 2014 at 11:55 AM

      j.d. you are correct about Goodwin’s OBP but he is batting .232 and has also struck out 34 times in 99 AB’s. He has walked an incredible 21 times in 120 plate appearances.He still, unfortunately, is not ready for prime time, though a September morning cup of coffee is possible.

      • jd - May 6, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        Joe,

        You are totally correct. He needs to show he can make more consistent contact but the walks are a good sign.

  14. Eric - May 6, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    This guy was cracking me up last night.

  15. knoxvillenat - May 6, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    From a previous post, Ghost made a comment about a link I had sent him earlier regarding Robinson Cano. Fortunately I found it and here it is for your enjoyment.

    …: http://youtu.be/0b9rOji_PWY

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 11:34 AM

      Still love the guy with the yellow sunglasses. Great reaction.

  16. Eric - May 6, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    On Haren and missing his family last year:

    “Haren didn’t struggle last season because his wife and kids were in Southern California, but having them around more, he believes, could have helped him snap out of a rough mental place.

    ‘It’s no fun for anybody going back to an empty house and I was thinking about baseball too much,’ he said. ‘Sometimes your wife and kids take your mind off it. Definitely nice to spend more time with them. We still go on 10-day road trips. We’re on one now and we’re on one in a week. There’s still a lot of time away from home.'”

    So, unlike what I was saying last week, he missing them didn’t play a role in his bad first half, just that it might not have snowballed so badly if he’d had them around.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the fans react when he takes the mound tomorrow…if were there, I’d cheer.

    Then, I’d hope for a vintage spring 2013 Haren performance ;)

  17. philipd763 - May 6, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    I have seen Haren pitch a couple of times on MLB and he looks like the Dan Haren of old….very sharp!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 12:42 PM

      Strasburg/Haren tomorrow. Show Haren no mercy because he sure won’t show any towards his old mates.

      • thelatencn - May 6, 2014 at 12:48 PM

        haren owes us a lousy performance.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 6, 2014 at 12:48 PM

        He sure does! That’s the least he can do.

      • tcostant - May 6, 2014 at 1:07 PM

        haren owes us a lousy performance

        +1

  18. nats2005 - May 6, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    Are you kidding, he gave us 2 quotas full last year!

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