Washington Nationals: Handicapping The Race For Closer

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Based on his early returns, Blake Treinen kooks good.

His fastball hit 98 on the radar gun. His delivery is smooth and his work solid. If it was not for Glover’s jaw-dropping games, Treinen would be the smart darkhorse to watch.

This is where things get tricky for Baker and us watching from the side. Treinen has yet to throw to anything resembling a full major-league lineup. He has lost nothing in the race, but he has gained nothing either.

With Treinen’s ability to throw a 100-mph sinker—how in the world can you hit that in the air is a mystery—his ability to induce a grounder gives him a real chance.

As with Glover, Treinen has never been in the ninth inning hot seat. Whatever he does the rest of the Grapefruit League matters. He will strikeout hitters and he will walk his share.

That is the x-factor here. Can Treinen pound the zone without beating himself. The potential and credentials are there. When given the chance to audition, can he pull it off is the big question.

Regardless if he wins the job or not, Treinen will pitch from either the high-leverage seventh or eighth inning. If Glover does not steal the job, Treinen by necessity will have save opportunities. If we end up with the dreaded “closer-by-committee”, he is the vice-chair.

As a fallback, he is a solid choice.