Doolittle allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits in one-third of an inning to take the loss Saturday against the Brewers.
Doolittle entered a 4-4 game in the 11th inning and allowed an RBI double to Christian Yelich and a single to Willy Adames, who later came around to score on a sacrifice fly after Doolittle had been replaced by Ryan Hendrix. Doolittle entered the day having gone five straight appearances without allowing a run, but Saturday's performance left him with a 4.65 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in 31 innings this season. Opposing batters are hitting .290 off the veteran lefty.
After a series of poor results while relying heavily on his fastball, Doolittle has started changing his pitch mix, working heavily with pitching coach Derek Johnson, Charlie Goldsmith of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Doolittle threw his first slider of the season and his first changeup since 2016 in Sunday's scoreless inning against the Braves.
Over the course of the season, Doolittle has thrown 434 fastballs of his 481 pitches altogether, with an average fastball velocity of 92.8 mph, down from 2019. He's been getting diminishing returns from that fastball, allowing a 4.55 ERA and 1.66 WHIP over 27.2 innings, falling out of the mix for primary roles in the Reds' bullpen in the process. Cincinnati's bullpen has pitched so poorly in the aggregate, however, that if these changes stick, Doolittle could work his way back into the mix for a more important role.
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.
Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson said Doolittle may also be considered a closer alongside Amir Garrett and Lucas Sims to start the year, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports.
Doolittle has 111 saves on his resume, but he's posted a mediocre 4.26 ERA over the last two seasons. The 34-year-old has done nothing to suggest he's about to turn things around this spring, giving up 11 runs in 7.1 innings while striking out six and walking seven.
Doolittle gave up three more runs in an inning Tuesday night, allowing five of the first six batters to reach on three hits and two walks, bumping his spring training ERA to 29.73, Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports. His velocity was around 93-94 mph, occasionally touching 96 mph.
Doolittle is nominally competing for the Reds' closer job, and he could have gotten a leg up due to Amir Garrett and Lucas Sims not pitching in games yet. However, the results have been so poor, it's hard to imagine him protecting a ninth-inning lead right now.
Doolittle allowed a leadoff walk and a subsequent double Saturday against the A's but rallied to get two strikeouts and a sacrifice fly. He had given up four homers in his first two outings.
With Amir Garrett and Lucas Sims both sidelined so far, Doolittle had a chance to get a head start on winning the closer's job, but his poor outings haven't made him an appealing option.
Doolittle gave up three runs in his spring training debut Sunday against the Giants, allowing two homers, but also had increased velocity over last season and had some success working in his new breaking ball, Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
Doolittle acknowledged that the breaking ball is still a work in progress. "I have to keep throwing it so I can develop that trust with it," Doolittle said. "I was kicking myself. I was mad, not because I hung it (to Ramos), I defined it wrong in my head. I said I'm just going to throw this for a strike. I have to be aggressive with it. I have to rip it. I didn't and I got burned. It's a good lesson." Doolittle so far isn't close to winning the Reds' closer job, even with Lucas Sims still not pitching in games.
Doolittle developed a new pitch over the offseason, a breaking ball that he considers to be closer to a curveball than a slider, C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic reports.
Doolittle has leaned very heavily on his fastball throughout his career, throwing the pitch 87.9 percent of the time. His only commonly-used out pitches over the last several seasons have been a slider and a changeup. The formerly dominant closer has recorded a mediocre 4.26 ERA over the past two seasons, but a new pitch could be what he needs to stake his claim for the ninth-inning role in Cincinnati.
Doolittle (oblique) signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Reds on Tuesday, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports.
Doolittle battled knee and oblique issues last season, finishing the year with a 5.87 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in just 7.2 innings of work. That follows a disappointing 2019 season which saw him post an ERA above 4.00 for the first time in his career. Assuming the injuries are behind him, he could be a useful part of the Reds' bullpen this season and could even close games, as he recorded an excellent 2.83 ERA from 2012 to 2018 and has earned 111 career saves. At age 34, however, another step backward may be more likely than a rebound.
Doolittle was diagnosed with an oblique strain and placed on the 10-day injured list Friday, Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic reports.
Doolittle doesn't have a precise timeline for his return, but with just 16 days left in the regular season, his chances of returning before the end of the campaign appear slim. The former closer didn't record a single save this season and struggled to a 5.87 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP in 7.2 innings of work.
Doolittle exited Thursday's game against Atlanta after suffering a right oblique injury in the ninth inning, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports.
Doolittle entered to start the ninth, but exited after retiring Nick Markakis for the first out. The southpaw appeared to be motioning toward his oblique area as he called for trainers to come check on him. Manager Dave Martinez confirmed after the contest that it is indeed an oblique issue and that Doolittle will undergo further examination before the extent of the injury is determined. It will be unfortunate timing should the reliever be forced to miss an extended period, as he has tallied six consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run since returning from a knee injury Aug. 26.
Doolittle struck out two in a perfect eighth inning during Monday's loss to the Phillies.
The southpaw entered the game with the Nats down 8-4, and he was able to get Didi Gregorius and Jay Bruce to swing through fastballs for his first two punchouts since coming off the injured list last week. It's been a tough season for Doolittle, and while the results Monday were encouraging, his heater topped out at 91.1 mph -- well below last year's 93.5 mph average. Unless he proves he can consistently get outs with reduced velocity, the 33-year-old is unlikely to work his way back into a share of the closer role.
Doolittle (knee) was activated from the injured list Wednesday, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports.
Doolittle has been cleared to rejoin the Nationals after spending around two weeks on the shelf with right knee inflammation. The southpaw struggled before landing on the injured list, so he'll likely be eased back into a setup role. Carter Kieboom was sent to Washington's satellite camp in a corresponding move.
Doolittle (knee) threw 24 pitches in a simulated game Friday at the Nationals' alternate training site, Jessica Camerato of MLB.com reports.
According to manager Dave Martinez, the southpaw "felt pretty good" afterwards. Doolittle is making progress, but there's still no timetable for his return to the bullpen.
Manager Dave Martinez said Doolittle (knee) could face live hitters Friday, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports.
Doolittle has been sidelined for a little more than a week with right knee inflammation, but he felt alright during a 20-pitch throwing session Wednesday and could ramp things up this weekend if he checks out OK in the coming days. A possible return date for the right-hander should emerge after Friday's session against live hitters.
Doolittle is dealing with some inflammation in his right knee, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports.
Doolittle was placed on the 10-day injured list Thursday, and manager Dave Martinez later revealed that the lefty is experiencing some inflammation. It's unclear how long Doolittle will be sidelined as a result. He's displayed decreased fastball velocity over his first several appearances, and the injury could have played a role in the downturn in production.
|Last 7 Games|
|07/27||@ CHC||W 7-4||0.2||0||0||1||0|
|07/24||vs STL||W 5-3||0.1||0||0||0||0|
|07/21||vs NYM||L 0-7||1.0||0||0||1||1|
|07/18||vs MIL||L 0-8||1.0||0||0||0||1|
|07/17||vs MIL||L 4-7||1||0.1||2||2||0||0|
|07/11||@ MIL||W 3-1||1.0||1||0||0||0|
|07/05||@ KC||W 6-2||1.0||1||0||1||0|
|More Pitching Stats|
|Minor League Pitching Stats|
|2012||AAA-Sacramento River Cat||3.2||2||0||0||0||0||0||8||1||1||0.00||0.625|