'Good night, Mr. Young': A's closer Blake Treinen on Cy-worthy run

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During a recent homestand, Blake Treinen was on his way out of the Oakland Coliseum when he passed by a security guard who addressed him as "Ty." Although the Oakland Athletics closer was confused, he didn't think much of it at the time. A couple of days later, Treinen walked by the same guard.

For a moment, Treinen was offended by the notion that the guard, someone he had almost daily interaction with, didn't know his name. Then it occurred to him that previously, the guy hadn't called him Ty, but rather nike nfl jerseys wholesale

With all due respect to Oakland's game-day staff, Treinen will most likely not win the American League Cy Young award. Not in a year when Tampa Bay's Blake Snell, he of the sub-two ERA and sub-one WHIP, has reached 20 wins in a breakout campaign. Not in a field that includes Houston's Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, both of whom are flirting with the hallowed 300-strikeout mark. Not in a world where Zach Britton had arguably the best relief season ever in 2016 and couldn't crack the top three in the Cy Young balloting. But the fact that Treinen is even being mentioned in the conver-Cy-tion is a testament to just how dominant he has been -- and just how far he has come.1

As recently as last year, Treinen was damaged goods, an experiment gone horribly wrong. Following a 2016 campaign in which he excelled in a setup capacity, Treinen -- who was drafted by Oakland in the 23rd round back in 2010 and then traded to Washington in January 2013 -- was one of three hurlers engaged in a heated spring training competition to become the Nationals' closer. It was a role that had long been a sore spot in D.C.

During a 10-year stretch from 2007 through 2016, eight different pitchers led the Nats in saves. One of them was Drew Storen, whose late-inning meltdowns played a key role in Washington losing each of the first two playoff series in franchise history (2012 and 2014). Storen was replaced by Jonathan Papelbon, whose tenure featured him famously choking Bryce Harper in the dugout. Papelbon was replaced by Mark Melancon, whose contract expired at the end of the 2016 season.

Despite the obvious need for an established closer, the Nationals -- who won the National League East in '16 and were expected to do so again in '17 -- whiffed in free agency as Melancon (Giants), Kenley Jansen (Dodgers) and Aroldis Chapman (Yankees) all inked megadeals elsewhere. It was against that backdrop that Treinen stepped into the closer role in Washington, beating out veteran Shawn Kelley and rookie Koda Glover for the nfl jerseys china nike

Treinen, who entered the 2017 season with one big-league save to his credit, notched his second career save on Opening Day by pitching a clean ninth inning. Two days later, he picked up another save, but allowed a run on two hits in the process. The day after that, he blew a save, and followed that up the next day with a shaky save in which he served up a two-run homer. Less than two weeks later, he was out as the Nationals' closer.

It didn't matter that he'd been lights-out in spring training. It didn't matter that he featured a heavy sinker that reminded folks of Britton and helped him lead all NL relievers in groundball rate the year before. It didn't matter that Treinen's sinker was routinely clocked in the high-90s and even hit triple digits once, a feat so rare it resulted in him being the subject of a clue on the game show "Jeopardy!" None of it mattered. All that mattered was that he wasn't the right guy for the closer job. Not yet, anyway.

"They needed somebody that had done it before," says Treinen, standing in front of his locker before a recent series against the Orioles at Camden Yards. "It's such a high-profile team. The moment you get in there, it's got to be success now because that city wanted a World Series from day one of the season. It's a lot of pressure."

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