The Nationals will no longer utilize Blake Treinen as the closer for the time being, manager Dusty Baker told reporters including Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com (Twitter links). Washington will utilize Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover in some form of ninth-inning time share.
A move in the late-inning mix seemed inevitable after Treinen struggled to find the zone last night. He has struggled quite a bit in the early going, allowing five earned runs on ten hits while allowing six free passes to go with his seven strikeouts.
Though Treinen is still working in his typical velocity range and producing loads of grounders, the contending Nats evidently don’t feel he’s ready to turn it around in the ninth. Presumably, the club will look to utilize him in the setup role in which he thrived last year.
Kelley and Glover could each stake an individual claim to the job, but the preference seems to be for a mix-and-match approach. The former has continued to rack up an outstanding K/BB ratio — presently, 13.5 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9) — but the Nats have long said they don’t view Kelley as a regular closer option due to his history of multiple Tommy John surgeries. Baker says the team prefers not to use him on consecutive nights, as Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com tweets.
That could leave the door open for Glover to grab the job and run with it, if he’s able to succeed in the opportunities he receives. The skipper is still hoping to utilize a single closer at some point, MLB.com’s Jamal Collier notes on Twitter. But the 24-year-old Glover won’t get the nod outright at this stage. He not only lacks substantial MLB experience, but has dealt with some minor injury issues (per Baker’s suggestion today).