With Opening Day just a week away, the Washington Nationals were still unsure of who would be the closer.
After the team didn't re-sign Mark Melancon this offseason, and missed out on top free agent Kenley Jansen, the team got dangerously close to starting the season without naming a closer.
That was, until Thursday morning, when manager Dusty Baker tabbed Blake Treinen as the pitcher who would handle the ninth inning in save situations.
"To be in the position Dusty has put me in, I feel honored," Treinen said according to Mark Zuckerman.
This will be Treinen's fourth season with the Nationals. In 2016, Treinen finished with a 2.28 ERA in 67 innings for the Nationals. The 28-year-old also had 63 strikeouts in 67 innings.
The Washington Nationals will start their season against the Miami Marlins on Monday, April 3rd at Nationals Park.
WASHINGTON -- Gio Gonzalez allowed two hits in six scoreless innings, Howie Kendrick hit two solo home runs and the Washington Nationals snapped the Los Angeles Angels' winning streak at six with a 3-1 victory Tuesday night.
Gonzalez (11-5) struck out four and issued three walks in lowering his home ERA to 1.79, now the best in baseball. The left-hander, who was three outs from a no-hitter July 31 at Miami, allowed his first hit two hits into the fifth against the Angels.
Los Angeles, which had climbed into an AL wild-card spot during its streak, lost for the first time since Aug. 7. Tyler Skaggs (1-3) allowed the two home runs to Kendrick and five other hits while striking out six in five innings.
Kendrick has homered in three of his past four at-bats after hitting a walk-off grand slam in the 11th inning Sunday night against San Francisco.
Playing their third game since Bryce Harper went on the 10-day disabled list with a bone bruise in his left knee, the Nationals got an insurance run in the sixth on a wild pitch by Bud Norris and an error on Angels first baseman Albert Pujols. That provided some extra breathing room when Cliff Pennington hit a home run in the eighth, the first run Brandon Kintzler has allowed since being traded to Washington from Minnesota.
With Ryan Madson's availability in question after dealing with a blister Sunday, the Nationals went with Matt Albers in the seventh, Kintzler in the eighth and Sean Doolittle in the ninth. Doolittle picked up his 12th save of the season and his ninth with Washington.
Howie Kendrick is still new to the Nationals. He doesn't have the same level of frustration with the San Francisco Giants as the rest of his teammates.
But after watching teammate Bryce Harper suffer a freakish knee injury against the Giants on Saturday, the former Angels and Phillies second baseman decided to join the on-again off-again rivalry on Sunday night, finally putting an end to a series that felt like it took forever to finish.
A Pablo Sandoval solo home run off Max Scherzer tied things up in the seventh inning at Nationals Park, and after two scoreless innings, the two teams appeared once again destined to do this forever. After all, the two teams had played earlier in the day, a game that started less than twelve hours after their Saturday night game had ended, a game which was interrupted by a lengthy rain delay.
Daniel Murphy singled off Alberto Suarez to lead off the bottom of the 11th inning. Ryan Zimmerman followed with a single of his own. Anthony Rendon was then intentionally walked, which brought Kendrick to the plate.
Howie Kendrick did not mess around.
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The home run was the 99th of Kendrick's career and his first-ever grand slam.
And like that, the Nationals 6-2 victory finally put their series with the Giants to rest, after 29 innings in just over 24 hours.