Doolittle has allowed at least one run in his last three outings, including giving up homers in his last two appearances. With Tejay Antone on the IL, there's a short-term opportunity for Doolittle to take on a more prominent role in the Reds' bullpen, but it doesn't appear that he's capable of filling it. Doolittle has allowed five homers and 11 walks in his 21.2 innings pitched, negating the impact of his 29 strikeouts. He currently sits with a 4.98 ERA and 1.57 WHIP.
Doolittle (3-0) allowed a hit and struck out two over one scoreless inning to earn the win Sunday versus Colorado. Doolittle pitched well in the eighth inning before Cincinnati scored twice to take the lead in the ninth. Tejay Antone held on for the save to give Doolittle the win. The 34-year-old has a 4.20 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 22:6 K:BB across 15 innings this season. The southpaw has worked as a closer before, but he has one save, two blown saves and a hold in 17 appearances. He'll likely remain in a high-leverage role, even if that doesn't involve ninth-inning duties.
Doolittle gave up the go-ahead hit Saturday and a game-tying hit Sunday against the Cubs' Nico Hoerner, and overall, right-handers are 8-for-21 with three doubles, a homer and an 1.148 OPS against him, Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports. If Doolittle is going to be a factor in the Reds' closer mix, he needs to get right-handers out more consistently. He's also allowed seven of nine inherited runners to score this season. There's a big opportunity for some reliever on the Reds to step into the vacant job, but Doolittle cost himself some equity in that battle this weekend.
Doolittle did not allow a baserunner and struck out one during a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save Tuesday against the Dodgers. Doolittle was called upon to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning, and he easily retired Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Max Muncy in order. The save was Doolittle's first since 2019 when he was a member of the Nationals. It's not clear whether he's now part of the regular closer mix for the Reds, as Tejay Antone, Amir Garrett and Lucas Sims had all pitched Monday. However, with Garrett and Sims both struggling, there could be late-inning opportunities for other relief arms like Doolittle.
Doolittle earned the win Monday night against the Pirates after throwing a clean seventh inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced. Doolittle threw 11 of his 13 pitches for strikes while hitting 96 mph with his fastball on multiple pitches. Last season his average fastball was only 90.7 mph, losing nearly 3.0 mph from 2019. If he can maintain that velocity, he can be a huge asset in the Reds' bullpen, which collectively threw four shutout innings Monday night.
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