Jun 2, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Blake Treinen (64) throws to the Toronto Blue Jays during the seventh inning in game two of a double header at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Bullpen Getting Back On Track?
After the bullpen had its fair share of struggles against Cincinnati and Toronto, they have pitched well in the first two games of this series against the Cubs. After Roark left the game in the top of the sixth inning, Aaron Barrett, Casey Janssen, Blake Treinen, and Drew Storen, gave up one run over the final 3.1 innings. That run actually came off of Storen when Chris Coghlan had a two-out RBI single in the ninth.
Personally, I was surprised when Williams went to Casey Janssen to pitch the seventh inning, but he does not like to put certain relievers in set roles. After Barrett got the final out of the sixth, Janssen was able to hold the Cubs to one hit in the seventh. However, that hit came via a single from the opposing reliever, Travis Wood.
The MVP out of the bullpen last night was Treinen. The 26-year-old had to face the heart of the Cubs order in the eighth (Fowler, Rizzo, and Bryant) and was very dominant. He struck out Fowler looking with a 98 mph sinker and struck out Kris Bryant on three pitches, ending the at-bat with a slider.
Sandwiched in between those Fowler and Bryant at-bats was Treinen being helped out by his defense. Denard Span took an extra-base hit away from Rizzo when he leaped to make the catch on a ball that looked like it would hit the top of the wall. This is no surprise from a player like Span, who has been great defensively this season.
Even though Storen did give up a run for the first time since April 21, he has still been one of the best closers in the National League. He has 18 saves in 19 chances, has a 1.16 ERA, and has 30 strikeouts to only three walks. He got into some two-out trouble, but he was able to get pinch-hitter Matt Szczur to look at a slider for the final out of the game.
The Nationals bullpen isn’t great, but I think it is safe to say that it is not as bad as they were in Cincinnati. All five games against the Cubs have been decided by three runs or less and Washington’s bullpen, for the most part, has kept the lead in those games.
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