OAKLAND -- After a historically great season in 2018, A's reliever Blake Treinen came crashing back to earth early this year.
Treinen's ERA reached a season-high 4.66 on July 16, nearly four runs higher than last year's league-leading 0.78 ERA. But recently, the 31-year-old has shown signs of regaining his All-Star form.
In his last seven outings, Treinen has held opponents scoreless, allowing just four hits with seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
"That's good to see," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "Our best team has him pitching late in games, as you saw last year. ... I think every (good) outing that he has, the confidence grows and grows, and that's a good thing for us."
Treinen's biggest problem this season has been his command, or lack thereof. After walking just 21 batters all of last year, the right-hander has already issued 29 walks in just 45 innings. But in his last two appearances, Treinen hasn't given up a walk, throwing 23 strikes and only eight balls.
"These last few outings, it's been great because I've been able to command my slider," Treinen said. "I'm throwing my slider more, and still mixing in the sinker and four-seamer. Commanding all pitches in the zone is really what's allowed me to have success these last few outings."
Treinen explained that he made a slight mechanical change in his delivery to help improve his consistency. So far, it has paid off.
"(Pitching coach) Scott Emerson, myself, and a couple of guys on the team have been talking about some small cues to try to get things to be more consistent," Treinen said. "A lot of it has just been that I have zero pain whatsoever in my arm, and that's huge. Some of it's just growing pains through the season, trying to figure out how to get back to what makes you successful."
Throughout his struggles this season, Treinen insists he never lost confidence in himself.
"I know people looking from the outside in are probably thinking that I'm down, but I've never had any lack of confidence at any point this year," he said. "I know what God has blessed me with and I try to attack hitters every single day with it. It doesn't mean that I'm always my sharpest, but it doesn't dwindle my confidence. I've played that game when I was younger and in (Washington) and it just gets you in a mess if you start going down that road."
If Treinen continues to perform the way he has over the past two weeks, he could eventually regain his closer job, though Liam Hendriks has been phenomenal in that role himself. Either way, Treinen just wants to help the A's win.
"I don't believe last year was a fluke," he said. "I don't believe the success I've had in the past was a fluke. This year, obviously, the numbers are different, but I feel like I can go out there and get any hitter out at any point."