Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

A's reliever Blake Treinen guided by faith in Christ through dominant 2018 MLB season

The 2018 Oakland Athletics might have been the surprise team in baseball. After finishing 2017 with 75 wins and in last place in the AL West, they made an incredible turnaround by winning 97 games this year and clinching a postseason berth.

A big part of that for Oakland was the dominant pitching of closer Blake Treinen.

This season, Treinen went 9-2 with a 0.78 ERA and 38 saves. In 80.1 innings, he struck out 100 batters, walking just 22 and allowing only seven earned runs all season. The All-Star pitcher became the first in MLB history to record 30 saves, 100 K’s and an ERA under 1.00. Many analysts, including ESPN’s Buster Olney, have said Treinen should be up for American League Cy Young consideration.

On his baseball glove, Treinen has an inscription that says “All 4 Him,” which is exactly the way he has gone about his baseball career. As he was trying to figure out his baseball career during college at South Dakota State, Treinen’s team chaplain gave him a Bible verse from Proverbs to lean on.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” — Proverbs 3:5-6

From that time forward, Treinan says he shares that verse on every autograph he signs.

“That was an intangible God moment for me,” he told NBC Sports. “Just His way of saying, ‘I got you, I’m with you, don’t be afraid.'”

Trusting in the Lord is something Treinen says he can display every time he steps on the baseball field to throw a pitch.

“My biggest crutch throughout everything has been Jesus,” he told CJOnline.com in 2016. “Baseball is part of my testimony to my faith. All I’ve ever known is baseball and God has been with me every step. Every trial has been through baseball in some form, and He’s always seen me through.”

Treinen, 30, was originally drafted by the A’s in 2011 but was dealt to the Nationals in a January 2013 three-team trade. He made his debut with Washington in 2014, and then traded in July 2017 to Oakland. Having been a relief pitcher all of his career, Treinen stepped in as the closer for the A’s and promptly posted a 2.13 ERA with 13 saves. That set the table for this year, what has become one of the greatest seasons by a relief pitcher you’ll ever see.

Now, Treinen and the A’s turn their attention to the New York Yankees and the American League Wild Card matchup set for Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on TBS.

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