Nats place Doolittle on injured list

washington nationalsThe Washington Nationals have placed closer Sean Doolittle on the 10-day injured list with knee tendinitis, a day after his second blown save in a week raised questions about his workload.

“Tonight, man, I just didn’t have anything,” Doolittle said blowing a three-run lead Saturday night in what turned into a 15-14 extra-inning loss to Milwaukee.

The Brewers touched Doolittle for three homers and four runs over a span of 13 pitches before manager Davey Martinez could get someone else ready.

It was clear early that Doolittle, as he said after the game, didn’t have anything. His first pitch to Christian Yelich was a 92-mph fastball, and his second, which Yelich deposited in the seats in left, was 91.8 mph.

All told, Doolittle threw 10 fastballs in his stint: none clocked higher than 92, and the average was 91.8.

According to FanGraphs, his average fastball velocity this season is 93.8 mph.

The issue seems to be workload. Saturday’s appearance was his 54th of the season, the most he has made in a season since 2014, when he was in Oakland.

His 54 appearances is second in the NL among closers, one behind Atlanta’s Luke Jackson, who also has one more blown save (7) than Doolittle in 2019.

Among the 16 NL pitchers with at least 10 saves to this point in 2019, his 52.0 innings pitched ranks fourth.

(Jackson is first, with 57.0 innings to this point.)

Doolittle had worked a scoreless ninth to notch his 28th save of the season in Washington’s 2-1 win over Milwaukee on Friday night.

He threw 13 fastballs in that outing, ranging from 92 mph to 95 mph, averaging 93.5 mph.

That outing came after a three-day break following a shaky outing on Monday in a 7-6 win over Cincinnati in which Doolittle gave up two runs in the ninth.

A day earlier, Doolittle had pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to close out a 7-4 win over the New York Mets.

Maybe there’s a pattern there. Good outing, then pitching a second consecutive day, a rough one.

“Yeah, we’re going to have to figure something out,” Doolittle said. “I’m going to have to figure something out. Because this team, they deserve better right now.”

Story by Chris Graham


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