So far Reds’ speedster Billy Hamilton has been deployed as a pinch runner/secret weapon. Last night he got a start, however, and boy what a start it was.
Hamilton went 3 for 4 — his first three major league hits — with two walks and four stolen bases against the Astros. He is the first player to get four stolen bases in his first major league start. One of his stolen bases led to the run which broke a 4-4 tie in the 13th inning. He’s now nine-for-nine in stolen base attempts.
In just one start and a couple of pinch running appearances Hamilton is tied for 37th in the NL in stolen bases. At the rate he’s going he could finish in the top ten despite being a September callup. That would be pretty trippy.
More significantly, he has to be putting the Reds in mind of placing him on the postseason roster. Sure, he’s not going to start much, but I feel like he’d be more valuable than a couple of the back-of-the-bullpen arms Dusty Baker may otherwise be inclined to carry around.
Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.
Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.
The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.
Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.
Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.
There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.
Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.