Bullpen running on fumes, with no break in sight

Bullpen running on fumes, with no break in sight
ATLANTA - Stretches of 20 consecutive games, particularly at this juncture of the season, are taxing on everybody on a ballclub, but the effect probably is most noticeable on a bullpen. And it's quite noticeable on the Nationals' bullpen right now. Nine days into their 20-days-without-a-break stretch, Nats relievers look, at times, like they're just trying to hang on and survive. They have pitched a combined 31 1/3 innings (an average of 3.48 per game) and have allowed 22 runs (18 earned) on...
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Treinen seizes opportunity to become fireman out of Nats 'pen

Treinen seizes opportunity to become fireman out of Nats 'pen
Blake Treinen has been through his ups and down over the last two years, offering the Nationals glimpses of his abilities out of the bullpen but too often balancing those out with prolonged periods of inconsistency that left his role undefined. If the last three months are a sign, though, the right-hander may have at last found his place, and the Nats couldn't be happier to have it happen. Over a span of 35 appearances that dates back to May 15, Treinen has posted an 0.84 ERA, allowing just...
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Martin called up from Syracuse to bolster bullpen for now

Martin called up from Syracuse to bolster bullpen for now
The Nationals called up right-hander Rafael Martin from Triple-A Syracuse, giving themselves another reliever for tonight's series opener against the Mets but still leaving the question of Tuesday night's starter unanswered for now. Martin becomes the eighth member of the Nationals bullpen, but his stay in D.C. could be brief. Unless the club intends to use long reliever Yusmeiro Petit as Stephen Strasburg's replacement in the rotation - and manager Dusty Baker said Sunday in Milwaukee that...
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Nats struggling to cobble together bullpen with Papelbon out

Nats struggling to cobble together bullpen with Papelbon out
When Jonathan Papelbon landed on the disabled list for the first time in his career 10 days ago, it was viewed in some corners as a potential addition by subtraction, given the veteran closer's oft-shaky outings that seemed to feature more hard-hit balls than swings and misses. Dusty Baker knew better. Whatever heart palpitations Papelbon may cause his manager at times, he more than makes up for with experience and the domino effect he has on the rest of the Nationals bullpen. "I think the...
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Rivero's struggles coming to a head for Nationals

Rivero's struggles coming to a head for Nationals
The Nationals have long seen in Felipe Rivero a dynamic left-hander with the kind of overwhelming stuff that suggest he could become a big league closer some day in the not-too-distant future. That may yet happen, but at this particular moment, Rivero looks like a pitcher in need of a major overhaul. "He's in a bad state right now," manager Dusty Baker told reporters in San Diego following last night's 7-3 loss. "Nothing's really going his way." That's an understatement. Rivero has...
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Baker on lack of bullpen changes, Rivero's struggles vs. lefties

Baker on lack of bullpen changes, Rivero's struggles vs. lefties
CHICAGO - After the Nationals needed to ask for 11 total innings out of their bullpen over the last two games, it was fair to wonder if they would need to bring in a fresh arm before tonight's game against the White Sox. The short answer: No. "We didn't even talk about it," manager Dusty Baker said. The thinking behind such a move: Blake Treinen just threw 66 pitches over three innings, leaving him out of commission for several days, and Sammy Solis threw three innings Sunday in Cincinnati,...
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Belisle ready but expects to continue rehab at Harrisburg

Belisle ready but expects to continue rehab at Harrisburg
Matt Belisle believes he's ready to come off the disabled list and rejoin the Nationals bullpen. The club, however, wants the veteran right-hander to continue his rehab assignment. So after three appearances at high Single-A Potomac, Belisle is now expected to head to Double-A Harrisburg. Belisle, out since April 26 with a strained right calf, pitched two innings last night for Potomac, allowing two runs on four hits (one of them a homer). He also struck out three. That came after two...
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Nats getting contributions from entire bullpen

Nats getting contributions from entire bullpen
KANSAS CITY - With his team holding onto a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning last night against a Royals lineup that won last year's World Series thanks in large part to its ability to string together big rallies late in games, Nationals manager Dusty Baker could have gone the paint-by-numbers approach with the back end of his bullpen. Felipe Rivero in the seventh. Blake Treinen in the eighth. Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth. That, on paper, is the way the Nationals have drawn up the final three...
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After shaky debut, Kelley quietly dominant out of Nats bullpen

After shaky debut, Kelley quietly dominant out of Nats bullpen
KANSAS CITY - The Nationals gave Shawn Kelley a three-year, $15 million contract over the winter because they believed he was a guy they could trust to pitch in big spots late in ballgames. And they couldn't have found a much bigger spot to throw Kelley into for his first assignment this season: a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the bottom of the eighth inning of a tie game on opening day. So when Kelley proceeded to walk that batter (Atlanta's Adonis Garcia) on four pitches (all of them at...
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Baker may not define bullpen roles until after opening day

Baker may not define bullpen roles until after opening day
VIERA, Fla. - As they enter their final week in Florida, the Nationals still are trying to establish specific bullpen roles. It would help, of course, if they already knew who exactly will be in their bullpen come opening day. That's not the case yet, with two jobs still up for grabs even at this late date. Given that situation, Dusty Baker hasn't been able to finalize in his mind who he'll be calling upon for certain game situations. "We're not exactly sure where we're going to slot guys...
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