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Dodgers: Blake Treinen as Valuable as Walker Buehler to Dave Roberts



Don’t look now, but the Dodgers’ bullpen has been good of late. Like, dumb good. As noted by Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, LA’s bullpen has allowed 1 hit over the last 45 at-bats with runners in scoring position spanning 6 games. 

While that’s generally regarded as next level dominance, one Dodger reliever has been a few rungs better than everyone. If you’re looking for the best reliever in the bullpen for the Dodgers, look no further than Blake Treinen. The right-hander struck out the side on 13 pitches while earning the save on Thursday night, continuing a run of his own season-long dominance.

After the game, manager Dave Roberts offered up the utmost praise for Treinen.

I think if you’re talking about pitchers on our staff, obviously Walker [Buehler] comes to mind, but Blake has been just as valuable as Walker. Every night he pitches, he’s facing the best guys in their lineup.

Knowing how much Dave values and respects Walker Buehler, that is quite a statement. But honestly, it’s not at all a reach. In 53 games this season, Treinen has a 1.84 ERA with 63 punchouts in 53.2 innings pitched. Moreover, he’s only allowed earned runs in 6 of those 53 outings.

Catcher Will Smith talked after the game about Treinen’s “unhittable” slider, adding that all of his pitches are “moving a lot.” That much passes the eye test for sure. In Dave Roberts’ train of thought, he looked back at Treinen’s first season with the Dodgers in 2020 which he feels had its challenges.

Last year, I thought that he was good, not great — transitioning to a new ball club. But the second half I thought he was really good and through the postseason and I really had a good feeling about him coming into this season as far as knowing the surroundings. The body’s in shape — he takes really good care of himself. The stuff’s elite … he’s just been so valuable.

Blake Treinen has become the ultimate not-so-secret-weapon for the Dodgers in 2021. And that’s quite alright.

NEXT: The One Reason Why LA Can’t Trust Kenley Jansen as Closer

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. You got that right. And Kenley has proven just the opposite. I believe thhe Dodgers have some NON baseball reason as to why they don’t make Treinen the closer. Roberts explanation that they dont want to limit Treinen to the 9th inning is just plain stupid as he pitches the 8th almost exclusively. ….my answer to him….SO Don’t….but make him the Closer.

    • Absolutely make Treinen our closer. Many of us have been saying this for awhile now. If Dave Roberts wants to use Kenley, for whatever reasons, he can put him on the mound in the 7th ,maybe even the 8th if our lead is significant. Also, I agree that Treinen (almost exclusively) pitches the 8th, so what difference would it make for him to pitch the 9th? I want someone on the mound who is, for the most part, (usually) “lights out” and closes down the inning with little to no traffic. Isn’t that what a closer is/does?

      • I have seen Blake walk guys. His stuff moves so much that sometimes it moves right out of the zone too. I like Mr Treinen as our closer, but I would also like to see Mr Jansen given his props too. I have never believed in him for some reason, but the results speak otherwise in Dodgerblue.

  2. First of all, Roberts has no real train of thought. He wants Treinen to only face the middle order in key situations but guess what….Blake showed last night he SHOULD BE THE CLOSER. PERIOD! He pitched the 9th in a key save situation and didn’t struggle like Jansen does and struck out the side on 13 pitches. But unfortunately the stubborn Roberts won’t budge off of Jansen. SMH.

  3. I swear to god, if Treinen doesn’t become closer, I will hate Roberts for the rest of year until Kenley is gone.

    • Dodger Boy, you can guess how I view Roberts right about now because honestly HE is the weak link of this team. But as I said, even though Treinen was lights out last night, Roberts will stick with Jansen most likely Doc is blind to the issue here.

  4. It finally took Roberts this long to realize how good Treinen is. If he has been coming in to shut down the best guys and KJ can’t close the 9th, why not let Treinen just close the game out? In the major leagues, it is all about performance and production. Every one can see KJ has been so inconsistent and Treinen been so dominant. They say a closer is a different kind of reliever, but Treinen has closer experience and he deserves to be given the runway based on past performances and Kenley’s struggling to close. Last night was a good start to switch it up and see all the options available before the pennant chase and playoffs.

    • I concur with you completely but the problem really is Roberts doesn’t agree with any of us here on the closer topic so unfortunately he won’t change a thing and he’ll keep KJ as the closer it appears. Sad.

  5. Roberts is starting to remind me of Biden, he won’t budge and won’t take the blame for anything. And like Biden, Roberts is starting to make me lose my mind.

  6. all commenters in lock step as usual. doc will do the right thing at the end of the day, just like he did last year. How does everyone forget that? Dodgers still waiting on several more arms back in the fold to further strengthen the starting pitching and relief pitching. The fact they are 2.5 games out with all the injuries/player movement this year speaks volumes of AF and the front office – the best in baseball.

    • AF deserves all the credit but Dodgers are doing well in spite of Roberts right now and the fact that Roberts has made it clear for now that KJ will be the closer is what concerns us fans who have watched these games and are aware of the results on many occasion when Jansen pitches the 9th inning of a very close game, maybe only a 1 run lead. But as you say we may see Blake in 9th inning save situations going forward, WSS.

  7. If anyone else , but Jansen , I call him… MR ENTITLED …should show inconsistency as JANSEN has , they would be sent down to the minors to work on consistency, find out what is going on and work on the problem in live situations , only at a lower level of competition, JANSEN has been given his respect for his good years , now is his time to quit feeling so entitled , if JANSEN really cares about the team winning and being successful, he should say to ROBERTS and the team F.O. I should not attempt to be the closer any longer at this time , and should work on myself for the better if I have anything left to help the team , I will in any way. JANSEN has not been a great plus for the team of recent outings only stressful drama. KENLEY GO OUT WITH CLASS . RETIRE ,

  8. i think it’s a simple thing. jansen as a setup man, ONLY with bases empty. ONLY with a two run lead or better (or trailing by 2 or more). never for late-inning work in a tie ballgame, unless it goes to extras and they’re almost out of pitchers.

    IF roberts insists on only using treinen as a high-leverage guy vs. the other teams’ top hitters, then he should close by committee, according to matchups (and if someone is just lights-out hot).

    but yes, i’d rather just have treinen closing, see how he does with it for the next few weeks or so. if he wets the bed, then you have a week or two to slot someone else in there, but i don’t think he will (wet the bed).

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