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Treinen takes loss but impresses Nats in brief call-up

May 7, 2014, 12:32 AM EST


Blake Treinen was summoned into the manager’s office Tuesday night after an 8-3 loss to the Dodgers and told he was being sent back to Class AAA Syracuse after making his first career start for the Nationals.

Treinen was down on himself after giving up three runs in the top of the sixth, a rally that was ignited by his own error on an easy comebacker to the mound by counterpart Clayton Kershaw. Matt Williams, though, was far more interested in complimenting the 25-year-old right-hander on an impressive performance given the situation.

“He was disappointed that he gave up some runs,” Williams recalled. “I said: ‘That’s a pretty good lineup over there. You’re facing a pretty good pitcher. And you held your own. You should be proud of that.’ It didn’t go his way, for sure, but I just think he pitched really well. He was poised, he threw strikes to both sides of the plate, used his breaking ball and competed. That’s all we could ask.”

Indeed, toss aside the final result of a game that got out of hand late amid a flurry of defensive gaffes and a pair of gopher balls served up by Ross Detwiler, and what you had was a head-turning outing from a guy starting a big-league game for the first time.

Treinen was downright dominant through five innings, scattering four singles without allowing a run and dazzling an unsuspecting Dodgers lineup with a pitch few ever have to face: a heavy sinker that consistently registered 97-98 mph.

“I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a guy with that sink,” catcher Jose Lobaton said. “It’s not easy to hit, and it’s not easy to catch.”

Lobaton laughed as he recalled a conversation he had with plate umpire Paul Nauert, who informed the catcher he might get a few more borderline calls if he held Treinen’s pitches a little better, not letting the natural movement pull his glove down.

“I’m like: ‘It’s not easy,'” Lobaton said. “‘It’s 97-98 with sink. I’m trying, but it’s not easy.'”

The Nationals have been high on Treinen since acquiring him as part of the three-team trade that sent Michael Morse to Seattle in January 2013, but he really burst onto the scene this spring, flashing that heavy sinker and making a strong case to make the Opening Day roster. He wound up beginning the season at Syracuse but was quickly called up last month when the club needed a fresh arm and made three relief appearances.

All along, the club wanted Treinen to stretch himself out to be a starter, and when the need for a fill-in arose on Tuesday, he got the call.

Having already appeared in three big-league games, he didn’t feel typical nerves when he took the mound, though there was an emotional moment. Before throwing his first pitch, Treinen drew a cross and the initials “K.C.” behind the rubber, a tribute to his aunt, Kim Cousin, who died on Monday.

Then he got down to business, cruising through the first inning on 10 pitches and thoroughly controlling a talent-laden Dodgers lineup.

“Not so much nerves as it was trying to give them an opportunity to win this game and stay in it as best as possible,” he said.

Treinen’s undoing came in the top of the sixth, in surprisingly quick fashion. He booted Kershaw’s comebacker for an error, then watched as first baseman Adam LaRoche had trouble handling a bouncer by Dee Gordon. An infield hit by Carl Crawford loaded the bases before Hanley Ramirez’s opposite-field single brought home the night’s first run and sent Treinen to the showers.

“If I field that ball to start the sixth inning there, it might be a totally different ballgame,” he said. “I’ll just work on settling down and taking my time next time.”

When that next time will come remains to be seen. After the game, Treinen was optioned back to Class AAA. The Nationals won’t make a corresponding move until Wednesday morning, but there’s a decent chance catcher Wilson Ramos will be activated off the disabled list and make his first start behind the plate since he broke a bone in his hand Opening Day.

“That’s one option we’re looking at,” Williams said.

Treinen will head back to Syracuse, where he’ll get a chance to pitch every fifth day, build up his arm and refine some things. He left D.C. disappointed with the end result of this game, but he left having made a real impression on his manager and others in the organization.

“I think he pitched pretty well,” Williams said, pointing toward the visiting clubhouse. “I bet if you asked those guys over there, they thought he pitched pretty good, too.”

  1. Drew - May 7, 2014 at 12:45 AM

    Treinen acquitted himself very well.

    So did Robbie Ray in his debut for the Tigers. Ray joins Harper and Barrett as the third member of the Nats’ 2010 draft class to reach the majors.

    A.J. Cole is likely to join that list. Sammy Solis might, too, if he could just stay healthy.

    • David Proctor - May 7, 2014 at 3:48 AM

      AJ Cole pitched six scoreless with 7 strikeouts for Harrisburg. He’s been working on a slider. Cole sounds very JZimm-esque in his approach:

      Cole on allowing no walks: “I’m not going to nibble and pick. Until I get 0-2, then I’ll try to make them chase. I’m going to go after a hitter. I’m not trying to give them a free base. That just makes it that much easier for them. If I can make them earn their way on, good for them. I tip my hat to the guys that got hits. They hit good pitches.”

      After scattering seven hits without issuing a walk, he has a 2.86 ERA and 23 strikeouts against four walks over 28 1/3 innings in six starts. He’s yet to allow a home run, and if not for a .388 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) — an indication generally of bad luck — coming into Tuesday, his ERA might be that much lower.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 7, 2014 at 5:54 AM

      Ray did get his debut against the Astros which is about as low of a pressure situation as you can get. He pitched in and out of trouble in the 1st inning then cruised and went 5 1/3 giving up 1 run and got the W.

  2. Ghost of Steve M. - May 7, 2014 at 7:01 AM

    It will be interesting to see what Mike Rizzo does with Treinen. 63 fastballs, 9 sliders but only 4 swing & miss pitches. He did induce a lot of weak contact which you would expect with his velo on the sinker as he is tougher to barrel up, but only 2 Ks in a league where you face opposing pitchers just wasn’t good and the 2 K’s were from the back-up catcher and the back-up 1st baseman. Both K’s were on the slider.

    Treinen induced 2 doubleplays on sinkers where he appeared to dial down the velo and that was impressive.

    In my observation, Treinen must add a changeup and work on getting more tilt on the slider to be an effective starter and induce more Ks.

    Treinen was helped by the ump with a +2 in his favor on balls below the K zone.

    • nats128 - May 7, 2014 at 7:48 AM

      At least he was pitching to contact and going after batters.

  3. natsjackinfl - May 7, 2014 at 7:23 AM

    Anybody else get the impression that Ross Detwiler wants no part of this relief gig?

    • Joe Seamhead - May 7, 2014 at 7:35 AM

      “Disinterested” seems like the perfect adjective.At least one that I can use on here.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 7, 2014 at 7:37 AM

      There is a big disconnect going on with Detwiler and I hope they figure it out. Watching him throw a BP session to the Dodgers was tough to watch.

    • emdash01 - May 7, 2014 at 9:43 AM

      I don’t know if it’s disinterest – I think the irregular work schedule is really hurting his effectiveness. He’s pitched 2 1/3 innings over the last 12 days – for a guy whose best pitch is the sinking fastball, that’s especially going to make him not sharp.

      He’s fallen into a difficult situation – he needs to pitch well to get more work and a higher-leverage role, but he’s not getting enough work to pitch well.

      • therealjohnc - May 7, 2014 at 10:31 AM

        And it’s hard for the team to give Detwiler work when he isn’t pitching well, so it’s a touch cycle.

  4. Joe Seamhead - May 7, 2014 at 7:33 AM

    I was at the game and when Matt pulled Treinen our whole section, and a good bit of the stadium, stood up and gave him a hand. It was a gritty performance.

    The day Mike Rizzo signed Scott Hairston I was puzzled by the move.Though I don’t know if Brian Goodwin will ever end up living up to the expectations many have of him, he’d have to be an overall improvement over Hairston. Right now.Hell,Tyler Moore would be an overall improvement.

    • nats128 - May 7, 2014 at 7:44 AM

      You dont like Hairstons .429 batting average? His defense is the worst on the team and that doesnt include that ball clanking off his glove. He got no jump on the Uribe broken bat RBI single and his arm is weaker than Lombos.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 7, 2014 at 8:06 AM

        His .429 BA is a small sample size smoke and mirror, slight of hand trick. As to the first misplayed ball on Uribe’s “hit” Scott was akin to a deer in the headlights when the ball was hit. This organization has progressed past having the likes of one dimensional,third rate journeymen taking up roster spots. Hairston is one of a small handful of Rizzo fails. DFA him now. Suck it up and take the loss.

      • nats128 - May 7, 2014 at 8:23 AM

        I was trying to use humor on his .429 I dont think Rizzo will DFA him until either RZ or Harper return which gives Hairston a chance to prove himself.

        In the meantime he shouldnt start any games in LF becuz I think he is worse than Dunn, Willingham, Morse and TyMo in LF.

      • lowstrikes - May 7, 2014 at 10:43 AM

        What is UP with Hairston closing his eyes when attempting to field the ball??? I noticed it on the play in which he slid to trap the ball that bounced in front of him, and see it again this morning in that photo on the Federal Baseball page. I know the baseball is hard, but geez…

      • nats128 - May 7, 2014 at 3:20 PM

        Hes just not good. Just that simple.

  5. acsportsfn - May 7, 2014 at 7:41 AM

    Yeah…..he may get a dose of the John Lannon AAA fix or maybe he’s trying to force a trade.

    • scnatsfan - May 7, 2014 at 7:54 AM

      If I’m not mistaken he has no options so Lannaning him won’t work. They can hope to HRod him.

  6. Brookstoor - May 7, 2014 at 7:53 AM

    This team needs to have one less guy named Scott Hairston on it. He is useless with the bat, I don’t care what his career OPS splits versus lefties are, this team needs production and not IOUs. He does make a game changing play on defense every now and then. Changing the game into a steaming pile that is.

    • scnatsfan - May 7, 2014 at 7:57 AM

      He isn’t going anywhere. Better to use your energy hoping he gets better.

      • Brookstoor - May 7, 2014 at 9:28 AM

        As a fan, all I have is energy devoted to complaining! You’re right probably. If he’s here, I don’t ever want to see him on defense. I know I’m echoing other comments in this very thread, but how can we have a player that only has one very specific role taking playing time or at least bench space from someone else? A late inning one-off pinch hitter is a waste of a roster spot in my opinion.

      • ArVAFan - May 7, 2014 at 9:29 AM

        Post sequencing is a bit odd here: as I logged in from 30,000 feet, it reads as if scnatsfan is referring to MW not going anywhere. I think he or she meant Hairston–or maybe Detweiler?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 7, 2014 at 9:47 AM

        scnatsfan on May 7, 2014 at 7:54 am
        If I’m not mistaken he has no options so Lannaning him won’t work. They can hope to HRod him.

        That was SC”s comment on Detwiler. Can we assume the other comment was in Hairston?

        I’m confused. I don’t think Detwiler is going anywhere unless he’s traded and I think last night Hairston used up another of his 9 lives.

      • scnatsfan - May 7, 2014 at 9:50 AM

        Sorry, I hear reply but got posted in general messages. Hairston. MW is here. Detwiler… my magic 8 ball says “too soon to tell”

      • scnatsfan - May 7, 2014 at 9:51 AM

        Did it again! reply button isn’t working for me.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 7, 2014 at 9:53 AM

        Ok, good but then who was your 7:54am comment about?

      • Joe Seamhead - May 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        I took the 7:54am comment to be about Detwiler.

        This whole Word Press thing gets really screwy. Then, I scroll down the page on my iPad with my left thumb and I’m constantly hitting the “report comment” button by accident. I’ve near purposely reported a comment from anybody on here!

      • Joe Seamhead - May 7, 2014 at 11:01 AM

        I’ve never purposely reported a comment…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 7, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        Me too Joe. I’m lost. Maybe he meant Hairston.

  7. rabbit433 - May 7, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    Treinen has nothing to be disappointed about. It was a bad inning that just kept building on itself. Then a movie came on my TV.

  8. flnatsfan - May 7, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    I left the game to put my nephew to sleep-the score was 4 to 0- I come back-they’ve scored 4 more. What? Oh…Detwiler was pitching…smh

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - May 7, 2014 at 8:41 AM

    “@EBJunkies: holy smokes Matt Williams in the middle of a hi speed chase during our interview… gets hit from behind”

    • Joe Seamhead - May 7, 2014 at 8:59 AM

      Steve? I didn’t get exactly what it was that you were saying. I don’t listen to the Junkies. What’s up?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 7, 2014 at 9:02 AM

        MW got rear ended while giving a radio interview. He’s ok. Apparently the car that hit him was being chased by police.

      • Eric - May 7, 2014 at 9:13 AM

        Sheesh. Hope he doesn’t have to go on the DL, too!

  10. Ghost of Steve M. - May 7, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    Reply button not working for me either. Last message to scnatsfan

  11. erocks33 - May 7, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    Detwiler needs to have a Dan Haren-like injury and spend a little time on the “DL” to get his head straight. Right now, it appears he is in the same mind frame as Storen was last year, however the Nats don’t have the luxury to send him to AAA. So, for now, a trip to the DL may be the only thing that will help him turn his season around because he is just not helping in any way, shape or form.

  12. philipd763 - May 7, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    Detwiler needs to find a new line of work!

  13. Ghost of Steve M. - May 7, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    Ramos is officially back and starting today!!!!

  14. Jeff - May 7, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    What is the brass position with Detweiler?
    You would think Ross would slide
    In to give rotation turn two lefty looks in a week.
    Low level scenarios for Ross.

  15. Drew - May 7, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Matt Purke is on the radio in Richmond, pitching for Harrisburg against the local nine.

    Purke is trying to turn around his disastrous season (0-5, 9.30 ERA.)

    He’s thrown four scoreless innings. So far, so good. He’s thrown 60 pitches, 41 for strikes.





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