2. Blake Treinen
Blake Treinen has pitched a grand total of five innings in 2022 … but he’s the Dodgers’ most important reliever. After a shoulder issue sidelined him in April, it was unclear if Treinen would return this year. As a result, the Dodgers signed him to an extension through 2023 so they wouldn’t have another contract issue heading into the offseason.
But Treinen avoided surgery and returned to the team on Sept. 3. He’s since pitched two innings in low-leverage situations and has allowed just one walk while striking out one batter. His five-pitch inning against the Padres on Sept. 3 was nice, but his 23-pitch laborious frame against the Giants two days later kept the Dodgers from pitching him for the remainder of that series.
It’s unclear how Treinen will respond to a larger workload, but the Dodgers need him at his peak powers, because he’s pretty much as impactful as a closer, but is used more liberally by manager Dave Roberts. Treinen’s usually the guy who comes in for the seventh or eighth to protect a lead/preserve a tie if the heart of the opposing team’s lineup is coming up. He’s used as Roberts sees fit, because he’s the arm most capable of getting outs against the biggest bats.
Though the Dodgers’ bullpen has mostly gotten the job done this year, it’s been clear Treinen’s absence makes it a less fearsome unit. In the postseason, the Dodgers will be facing all the best lineups in heightened situations. Can the current cast handle such a task? Dodgers fans would just rather have Treinen healthy and ready to go rather than wonder what might happen without him.