After sluggish starts, Joakim Soria and Blake Treinen are beginning to find their all-star stuff again for an Oakland Athletics team in need of late-inning stability.
For the major part of the 2019 season, Liam Hendriks and Yusmeiro Petit were the only reliable Oakland Athletics’ relievers.
Hendriks earned himself an all-star nod and the A’s closer spot in part because of a run of 19 consecutive scoreless appearances, stretching 20.2 innings pitched and flashed by 34 strikeouts and only three walks.
In total, Hendriks is 4-1 in 59.1 IP with a 1.67 ERA, 10 saves and 79 strikeouts.
Petit has quietly had his best season, appearing in a league-high 55 games and posting a 2.64 ERA and a 0.862 WHIP and 7.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
But Hendriks has fallen off a bit since the all-star break, blowing two saves and losing one game over his last five appearances with a 7.71 ERA and a .364 BAA.
In the same time frame, Treinen has refound his record-breaking 2018 form.
In his last seven games – 6.1 IP – since July 17, Treinen has not allowed a run and has only allowed one extra-base hit while posting a .174 BAA and a .539 OPS.
He has still been wild, allowing four hits and five walks, but he has picked up four wins in those seven appearances and has a noticeably different attitude.
Treinen started the season continuing last year’s dominance, allowing one run and striking out 17 in his first 13.1 IP (11 games), picking up six of his 16 saves between March 21 and April 24.
He allowed a season-high four runs in 1.2 IP in his next appearance, a 10-inning loss to Toronto on April 28, and logged a 6.75 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP in his next 25.1 IP (while still saving 10 games, all coming in a 14-game span).
Joakim Soria has also returned to his career baseline over the last month-plus.
But since June 15, the 35-year-old has a 2.89 ERA in 18.2 IP with a WHIP under one and a 25/4 strikeout/walk ratio, including his season-long eight-appearance scoreless streak (his career ERA is 3.01 and has 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings).
Taking away his two-run third-of-an-inning game against Texas on July 28, he has a 1.99 ERA in the last 21 games.
If the two relievers can continue this recent consistency, with the addition of Jake Diekman and the potential addition of A.J. Puk, the bullpen may actually be reliable in the playoffs, which the A’s will desperately need to make a run at it (and even get into the playoffs).