Bullpen help is on the way, Los Angeles Dodgers fans! Though rotation reinforcements are perhaps more paramount, LA will take any pitching help it can get at the moment. Even though the team is dominating on all cylinders, everything changes once October hits.
The Dodgers have been without far too many key pitchers in 2022, and the ones that are returning really need to get in a rhythm before every out matters in about six weeks.
The latest update was a big one for LA, as the team announced Blake Treinen will be back with the team on Sept. 2 after pitching just three innings in 2022 after going down with a shoulder injury. Treinen last appeared on the mound April 14 at Dodger Stadium against the Reds.
At first, it was believed he’d be back in a few weeks. Then it was a couple months. Then it was around the All-Star break. Then came what’s going to be a near-five-month layoff that has magnified Craig Kimbrel to degrees Dodgers fans have greatly resented.
But before everyone starts getting excited about Treinen’s return, it’s important to properly forecast what can be expected of the burly right-hander after being away from the game for so long.
What can Dodgers fans expect from Blake Treinen when he returns?
Don’t get too excited just yet for Craig Kimbrel to be removed from the closer role, folks. Treinen has only seen eight total innings this year (five in rehab outings), so he’ll have a decently long way to go before he’s acclimated to high-pressure situations on a consistent basis.
Additionally, if you look at his game logs, Treinen pitched on Aug. 12, 16, 21, 23, 26 and 27. It’s hard to believe we’ll see a ton of back-to-back outings from him for at least a couple weeks. He’s getting three days of rest before his final rehab outing, too, so it seems the team doesn’t feel he’s ready for that heavy of a workload just yet.
After all, he just got his velocity back in his most recent rehab appearance, where his sinker averaged 97.2 MPH, which is pretty much what it’s been since 2017. Before Saturday, he was mostly sitting 93-96 MPH, proving that he needed a bit of time to build back up. Here’s an extended look at him from a week ago:
It’s just important to be patient over the next few weeks. Dave Roberts claiming Kimbrel won’t be glued to the closer role come October was just the beginning of the process. Now he needs Treinen to get back up to speed in addition to Victor Gonzalez and Tommy Kahnle (when the time comes for them) and then there will be a much more full bullpen picture.
But since the unit has been carrying the load without Treinen for all of 2022, Roberts will likely let the status quo chug along as he finds the appropriate spots to help the veteran get back on track at the big-league level.