The national media’s focus on Tuesday was on Clayton Kershaw’s first MLB start since that awkward series in Australia in mid-March, but the Washington Nationals had their own interesting pitching situation on the mound as Blake Treinen made the first start of his major league career.
Treinen went about pitch-for-pitch with Kershaw through five innings, and then things got sort of ugly for a half inning. Kershaw reached on an error by Treinen, who just dropped the ball and couldn’t recover. Dee Gordon reached after an Adam LaRoche bobble, and Carl Crawford singled on a slow roller up the first base line.
Just like that, the bases were loaded on three balls that never left the infield. Treinen gave up the first run of the game on a Hanley Ramirez single, which scored Kershaw, and it was a quick hook for Treinen. Craig Stammen entered to limit the damage, but two more runs scored, and the Nats were down 3-0 after six.
The Nats had some opportunities with the bats, but they went 0-for-5 with RISP through the first seven innings. Normally, this would be time to chastise the offense, but they were dealing with Kershaw, after all.
Stammen allowed a run in his second inning of work, but the train derailed when Ross Detwiler entered the game in the top of the eighth.
Detwiler, the Nats former starter turned mop up reliever, didn’t do anything to help his cause for a change in roles. Hanley homered on a first-pitch fastball to the deepest part of the ballpark, which sort of exemplified the rest of the appearance. Detwiler immediately walked Matt Kemp on four pitches, and then after a single and another home run, the home team was down 8-0.
The offense woke up a bit in the bottom of the eighth inning, conveniently when Kershaw was no longer pitching. They did their first real damage to former Cleveland closer Chris Perez. Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth, Jose Lobaton, and a couple of other guys got on base via either a walk or single, and the Nats made it an 8-3 game.
– Treinen showed his fastball/sinker between 94 and 98 mph throughout his first MLB start. He’ll almost certainly be the one demoted when Doug Fister comes of the disabled list on Friday, but don’t be surprised if you see him again before the season ends.
– Werth’s 4-for-5 game is impressive enough on its own, but’s made even more impressive considering Kershaw was on the mound for three of those. He’s now hitting .306 with an .846 OPS.