The back end of the Athletics’ bullpen figured to be a strength coming into this season, but the struggles of Lou Trivino and Blake Treinen continued on Sunday. Trivino’s season had actually been going well until two weeks ago, but it has gone downhill quickly. Heading into Sunday’s game with the Rangers, he had given up nine runs (eight earned) on 10 hits and five walks over his previous 5.2 innings. Trivino had not experienced any notable change in his velocity or pitch mix, but he was suddenly very hittable, getting only six swinging strikes in 115 pitches.
He threw 19 pitches on Sunday without a single swing-and-miss. After retiring Nomar Mazara to start the bottom of the eighth inning, he coughed up four straight hits (two doubles and two singles) and allowed the Rangers to chisel two runs off an 8-3 lead. A third run was charged to Trivino when Rougned Odor stole home with Ryan Buchter pitching, with the lefty having entered the game with two outs and runners on the corners.
Treinen took over in the ninth with the A’s lead bumped back up to three runs in the top of the inning. Despite giving up a pair of one-out singles, he nearly escaped with no damage, as Treinen struck out Hunter Pence to get the second out. However, an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single and a Josh Phegley passed ball brought the Rangers within a run. Then, with first base open, Treinen issued a four-pitch walk to Odor and retired Ronald Guzman for the final out and his 14th save.
He had recently rebounded from a rough stretch, pitching four scoreless innings over his last three appearances, but Treinen succeeded despite being contact-friendly (four swinging strikes in 74 pitches, two strikeouts) and wild (32.4 percent Zone%, five walks). Despite his extended difficulties, there is no sign of Treinen losing his grip on the closer’s role. Maybe Trivino’s struggles are making it more difficult for Bob Melvin to make a switch. For his part, Melvin said after Sunday’s game, “Blake has been really good for us. We have to stick with him during the rough times, as well.”
The Rangers never held a lead in Sunday’s game, but Chris Woodward’s bullpen usage may have raised some eyebrows. Four days after Woodward said Jose Leclerc was close to returning to the closer’s role, and two days after he took the loss against the A’s, pitching in a tie game in the top of the ninth, Leclerc was summoned to pitch the ninth inning again. This time, he was trying to keep Oakland’s lead at two runs, but he gave up Khris Davis‘ two-out RBI single that extended the lead.
Leclerc had been dominant from early May right through his first two outings in June, and even in his last two appearances, he has induced eight swinging strikes in 49 pitches. On Friday, he did allow a home run to Marcus Semien, but on Sunday, the two hits he allowed were line drive singles hit with exit velocities of 84.9 and 87.2 mph. While it’s odd that Woodward used Leclerc in a relatively low-leverage situation on Sunday, his performance should not be a source of concern for those who are rostering — or want to roster — Leclerc.
Given that Sergio Romo had blown only one save all season long and had been reliable over the previous two-and-a-half weeks, it seemed like a cinch for him to protect a four-run lead for the Marlins against the Braves on Sunday. However, a wild pitch and a balk allowed Tyler Flowers to turn his one-out double into a run, and a Ronald Acuna Jr. three-run homer brought the Braves all the way back to a tie. Romo did not allow any further damage in the ninth, but in the top of the 10th inning, Tyler Kinley issued four straight two-out walks, giving the Braves a one-run lead. However, Luke Jackson gave the run right back in the bottom of the inning after allowing a Harold Ramirez single and a Martin Prado RBI double. The Braves did prevail in 12 innings, with Josh Tomlin getting the first save of his career.
Over his last 9.2 innings, Jackson has three blown saves in six attempts and has allowed six runs on 13 hits and two walks. He has also struck out 20 batters and compiled a 72.7 percent ground ball rate. There are no signs suggesting that Jackson has deserved a BABIP anywhere near .571 during this period, so as long as Brian Snitker keeps the faith, he should be a perfectly viable fantasy saves option going forward.
In allowing Jake Bauers‘ seventh-inning solo home run, Adam Ottavino broke an 18.2-inning scoreless streak on Sunday. Two other streaks, however, remained intact. Evan Marshall pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the White Sox against the Royals, so he has now gone 14 innings this season without allowed an earned run (he did allow an unearned run against the Nationals on June 5). Chad Bettis tossed 2.1 scoreless innings against the Mets on Sunday, extending his scoreless streak to 13.2 innings. Over that stretch, the Rockies’ righty has a 71.9 percent ground ball rate.
Quick hits: Kenley Jansen (19), Josh Hader (16) and Raisel Iglesias (13) all notched saves on Sunday. Roberto Osuna (17) and Pedro Strop (7) did too, but theirs required only one out…Aroldis Chapman was charged with his second blown save of the season, as he allowed the Indians to tie the Yankees when Jose Ramirez scored on Didi Gregorius‘ fielding error. Aaron Hicks‘ RBI double off Oliver Perez gave the Yankees the lead back, and Stephen Tarpley struck out the side for his first career save…Craig Stammen allowed four consecutive home runs in getting charged with the loss in the Nationals’ 5-2 win over the Padres…Jose Alvarado was transferred from the family medical emergency list to the restricted list on Sunday. He may return to the Rays’ active roster on Monday or Tuesday.
Al Melchior has been writing about Fantasy baseball and sim games since 2000, and his work has appeared at CBSSports.com, BaseballHQ, Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster and FanRagSports. He has also participated in Tout Wars' mixed auction league since 2013. You can follow Al on Twitter @almelchiorbb and find more of his work at almelchior.com.