Washington Nationals' reliever Blake Treinen took the mound against the Baltimore Orioles in the top of the eighth on Thursday afternoon with a .189/.270/.221 line vs right-handed hitters on the year and a .327/.414/.455 line against left-handers over 138 plate appearances vs righties and 116 PAs vs lefties.
A half-inning after the Nationals rallied to take a 4-3 lead over the Orioles with a home run by Wilson Ramos and an RBI double by Yunel Escobar, Treinen came on with right-hander Steve Pearce, switch-hitter Matt Wieters and right-hander Jonathan Schoop due up and gave up a leadoff single by Pearce and a two-run home run to center by the O's catcher.
"He's had issues with the left-handed hitter for much of the season," Nats' skipper Matt Williams told reporters after the Nationals were swept in the three-game set with their regional "rivals".
"Today, it's a good fastball, it's upper 90s fastball, but it's up and middle. And [Wieters] put a good swing on it. Generally he's been much better against the right-handed hitters. Pearce led off with a single to right on a first-pitch fastball and then he got one up. Worked through the rest of the inning, but by then it's too late."
Treinen had a streak of 5 ⅓ scoreless and hitless innings end and Wieter's no-doubter to center in Nationals Park ended a streak of 37 IP in which the sinker-balling right-hander hadn't allowed a home run.
It was just the third home run Treinen's allowed in 63 IP overall this season, and the second by a left-hander.
"That's baseball, it happens," Williams said. "Blake just couldn't get the ball down to Wieters and he hit a home run."
"If it's down a little bit it may be a double play ball," the second-year skipper said.
"So, it's a question of inches at times and as the old cliche points out. If the ball's down a little bit it may be a ball in the ground for two."
"I was just trying to sink the ball down and away, get a ground ball," Treinen told reporters, including MASN's Chris Johnson.
"And I left it right up over the middle. It just wasn't an executed pitch. If it's down, he probably rolls over it or shoots it to [Ian Desmond] or [Yunel Escobar]. It had good sink. It was just up and over the middle."
Wieters, a .247/.309/.394 career hitter from the left side vs right-handers, and a .279/.337/.486 hitter from the right-side against lefties in his seven major league seasons, had just a .237/.284/.361 line, 10 doubles and three home runs against righties this season before the game, and a .273/.300/.439 line, two doubles and three home runs against left-handers, so against a right-hander with good splits, the matchup was probably favorable.
Orioles' skipper Buck Showalter told MASN's Gary Thorne after the game, however, that Wieters has been hitting the ball well from the left side recently.
"Matt, the last couple times out there, he's swung the bat real well from the left side, not a whole lot to show for it, I think he had a couple otherwise," Showalter said.
The home run, Showalter joked, was a big one.
"That one should count two or three," he said. "That was a real big boy home run."
"You know he throws hard," Wieters said in how own post game interview.
"You also know he's got good sink, so just trying to get something up, and I was fortunate to get one up and kind of middle and just fortunate enough to hit a barrel."
Unfortunately for the Nationals, their bullpen blew another late lead and they dropped 7.5 games behind the New York Mets in the NL East with 10 games to play.