In Sean Doolittle’s last five appearances out of the bullpen, the 32-year-old closer has given up 13 hits, five of them home runs, and 10 earned runs total (22.50 ERA), with a fairly brutal .520./556/1.240 line against in four innings pitched in those appearances, culminating with last night’s blow-up.
Doolittle came on with the Washington Nationals up 11-8 in the top of the ninth and gave up a leadoff home run, a double, a two-run blast, and a solo shot that turned the three-run lead into a one-run deficit, though the Nats rallied to tie the Milwaukee Brewers in the bottom of the ninth in what ended up a 14-inning affair in the nation’s capital.
“He says he’s fine, he really is, and I’ve got to trust him,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said after what ended up a 15-14 loss, when he was asked if his closer was healthy.
“It’s a conversation I’ll have with him tomorrow and see where he’s at,” he added. “But we had a conversation with him today and he said he was good to go. Like I said before, we wouldn’t be in this position we are now without him believe me, so we’ve got to figure him out.”
“Tonight, man, I just didn’t have anything,” Doolittle acknowledged, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after the game. “So, yeah, we’re going to have to figure something out.
“I’m going to have to figure something out. Because this team, they deserve better right now.”
Doolittle, who has averaged 93.8 MPH on his four-seamer this season, sat around 91.8 MPH last night, and maxed out at 92.5 MPH.
“You want to be out there,” Doolittle told reporters. “You want to help the team. But I haven’t been pulling my weight here these last couple weeks.”
This afternoon, in advance of the finale with the Brewers, the Nationals placed Doolittle on the 10-Day Injured List with right knee tendinitis.
Martinez talked last night, before the IL stint was announced, about his pitcher’s workload this season, and why it’s different from previous campaigns.
“We talked about this,” Martinez said. “This is the first time that he hasn’t missed time on the IL, so we’re going to have to be conscious of that moving forward, and like I said, these are about conversations that I have with him, that [trainer] Paul [Lessard] has with him, that the three of us sit down and have together.
“So we’re going to have to keep an eye on that and he’s honest with me, he’s always honest with me, so we’re just going to have to keep conversing and hopefully we get him on the right track. The other day he came in and saved the game, one run, you know, today was a different story.”
Martinez said last night that he would have to at least consider other options until the left-hander is back on track.
“I’m not saying anything definitive, but I definitely want to have a conversation with Doo and figure something out,” he said. “What’s best for him, what’s best for the club, and just make sure that he’s ready, because as far as I’m concerned we’ve got a lot of baseball left, and if we’re going to move forward and do the things we want to do, he’s a big part of it, so we’ve got to make sure we take care of him.”
And when Doolittle comes back?
Martinez says he told Doolittle that when he comes back, he’s the closer.— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) August 18, 2019
For now, the Nationals have called up Kyle McGowin to help out of the pen after last night’s marathon loss.