With one more inning of work, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle is set to reach his highest innings total since 2014. Currently at 50 2/3 innings, the lefty has saved 27 games with a 3.73 ERA and 58 strikeouts against 12 walks. He has struggled recently, however, giving up eight runs on 12 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts over his last 7 2/3 innings of work dating back to July 29.
Appearing on 106.7 The Fan’s Grant & Danny Show today, Doolittle said his workload concerns him. The lefty said, “I haven’t really amassed this kind of bulk in several years. There’s nights like last night where you feel a little bit out of wack, a little bit sluggish. It catches up to you after a while.” Last night, Doolittle allowed two runs to the Reds while still converting the save.
Doolittle’s skid is creating yet more bullpen-related anxiety for the Nationals as the bullpen has been a cause of worry all year. It’s been such a concern that the club has picked up veteran retreads Fernando Rodney, Hunter Strickland, and Greg Holland midseason.
The Atlanta Braves announced this morning that they have promoted general manager Alex Anthopoulos to President, Baseball Operations and General Manager and have extended his contract through 2024. They have likewise extended the contracts of manager Brian Snitker and his coaching staff through the 2021 season.
Anthopoulos’ promotion will not likely change his duties very much, as it’s become increasingly common for top baseball operations executives to be given the title of “president” as opposed to “GM.” Part of this is some expansion of the role of said executives. Some of it is simple title inflation. Some of it is to prevent other teams from being able to interview and potentially poach top executives without permission under the guise of promotion.
Anthopoulos was hired following the 2017 season, replacing former GM John Coppolella, who resigned and was subsequently permanently banned from baseball following his involvement in a scandal in which he breached rules in connection with signings of international players and obstructed Major League Baseball’s investigation into it all. Before that Antopoulos served as the Blue Jays’ GM for seven years.
Snitker took over as interim manager when the Braves fired Fredi Gonzalez in the middle of the 2016 season. He and Coppolella did not get along and there were strong suggestions that he would never lose the interim tag, but he has been on far steadier ground since Anthopoulos took over. Winning helps, of course, and under the leadership of Anthopoulos and Snitker, the Braves have won the last two NL East titles, going 187-137 in the past two seasons.