After serving up the deciding 2-run home run on Wednesday night, it shined a spotlight on an issue Dodgers fans were hoping would resolve itself sooner. Blake Treinen is in a bit of a slump. As usual, the only time relief pitchers get a mention is when they’re struggling. Sure enough, Dave Roberts was asked about his right-hander after picking up his third loss of the season.
Unsurprisingly, the Dodgers are aware of the recent stretch (who would have thought??). On the question, Roberts quickly defended his setup man for executing his pitch.
It just looked like the ball was in[side], off [the plate], and sometimes you gotta give credit to the hitter. [Ramon] Laureano likes the ball in — in might have been a tick higher than it should have been… it’s still a ball … and for him to keep that baseball fair … I thought Blake threw the ball well. Obviously the result, I know he doesn’t feel great, but my confidence hasn’t wavered.
Here you can be the judge yourself.
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— Oakland A's (@Athletics) September 24, 2020
While it’s all well and good — and merited — to acknowledge that it was a better piece of hitting than it was a bad pitch, for Treinen, it continues a recent bad stretch of outings that are accentuated by the calendar reaching the end of the regular season. In his last 8 games, the 32-year-old has surrendered 9 earned runs in 6.1 innings (12.79 ERA).
So Dave, do you think he’s struggling?
I think, on the surface, if you look at the runs, it doesn’t look great and Blake’s a little frustrated, and rightfully so. But I still think there’s a lot of soft contact in there … so for me, we’re gonna keep running him out there and I believe he’s going to continue putting up zeroes.
I say it time and time again, get yourself someone that believes in you the way Dave Roberts believes in his players.
Mind you, it should be noted that Doc is correct. Treinen is getting BABIP’d to death, as the saying goes. He’s allowed close to a .500 batting average on balls put in play over this cold stretch. For his first 17 games of 2020, the reliever allowed only a .217 BABIP and 1.04 ERA.
In more relative terms, Blake Treinen is suffering from a good amount of bad luck at the moment. Baseball is fun like that — the law of averages. For the season, his BABIP sits at about .300, or right around his career average mark.