Treinen suffers tough loss to Dodgers in first major league start

In your first major league start, you hold the Los Angeles Dodgers to no earned runs over five-plus innings. Your fielding error allows the opponent to start a rally. But it is just three runs.

Nationals right-hander Blake Treinen took the loss in an 8-3 defeat, but it was not because he wasn’t ready or didn’t have the stuff to compete. He did.

“Obviously, I am excited to get an opportunity to come up here and play with this team,” Treinen said. “Not so much nerves, as it was just trying to give them an opportunity to win this game and stay in it as best as possible.

“I feel like I made pitches when I needed to and had some good defense behind me. I field that ball to start the sixth there might be a totally different ball game. I’ll work on settling down and taking my time next time and see where it goes.”

Not bad for a guy who found out he was going to make the initial big league start while at batting practice on Monday with Triple-A Syracuse.

His catcher with the Nationals, Jose Lobaton, was impressed with what Treinen brings. But he knew from catching him early in the season that he had the stuff to get outs in the majors.

“He was good, outstanding,” Lobaton said. “Sinker, slider, it was working really good. Since he was here before, today was the best day that I see. Sinker, 97 to 98 mph. Nothing bad I can say about him.

“I saw him in the bullpen, he was relaxed and ready to go. When I saw him in the first inning throwing strikes, I am like, ‘It is going to be fun today.’ “

Treinen benefited from a pair of double plays in the first two frames. But the reason he was forcing Dodger hitters to turn over grounders was the wicked sink he was getting on his fastball. It was something a veteran like Lobaton had never seen sink that fast.

“That is the best pitch,” Lobaton said. “I don’t think it is easy to hit his 97, 98 mph sink. He got that in the first inning. Everybody was missing, missing. I don’t want to call anything else. Then started mixing sliders in the end because of a couple of good swings.

“I think that is the first time I see a guy with that sink. The sink that he got on the ball is big. I got a friend (who said), it looks like a slider from a lefty. I am like, why? It is so big, that sink.”

Lobaton said home plate umpire Paul Nauert was telling him to hold the pitch a little bit longer.

Lobaton told Nauert, “It is not easy to catch, I am trying. It has 97, 98 mph sink.”

Treinen said pitching coach Steve McCatty and Lobaton kept pushing him to stick with his fastball early in the game to get outs.

“Talking with (McCatty) earlier and Loby, it was just pretty much pitch to my strengths,” Treinen said. “If they start getting on my fastball, start spinning some breaking balls in there. Seemed to work out pretty well, got some ground balls and weak hits. Felt like I made the pitches I needed to do and just need to field the ball better next time.

“Cat was telling me make sure you get ahead of every hitter and get the first guy every time. And the end of my outing, my pitch count was down. That is what allowed me to go farther in the game.”

Treinen also was able to smack his first base hit in the majors, a clean single in the fifth off of Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, a two-time Cy Young Award winner.

“He is a great pitcher,” Treinen said. “I don’t know. When I see all fastballs, it is easier for me just to try to put the bat on the ball, hoping. Kind of got lucky, I guess.”

Treinen enjoyed getting that first base hit, but he wanted the win more.

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