Sean Doolittle
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Nationals activate Sean Doolittle and Ryan Zimmerman from injured list

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The Nationals made a flurry of roster moves on Sunday; among them, they returned lefty reliever Sean Doolittle and infielder Ryan Zimmerman from the 10-day injured list.

Doolittle, 32, has been laid up since mid-August with a bout of tendonitis in his left knee. Given his tentative status, he’s not expected to resume closer duties right off the bat, but will get eased back into his role with some lower-leverage relief duties this month. Prior to his IL assignment, the former All-Star closer logged 28 saves with a 4.33 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and 10.2 SO/9 through 52 innings pitched.

Zimmerman, 34, hasn’t appeared in a game for the Nationals since late July, when he landed on the IL with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Like Doolittle, he’ll return to a modified role; per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier, he won’t slot into an everyday position at first base, but will be used in pinch-hitting situations or as a defensive replacement instead. He’ll enter September with a .246/.311/.390 batting line, three home runs, 15 RBI, and a .700 OPS across 132 plate appearances.

Of course, Doolittle and Zimmerman aren’t the only players returning to the Nationals’ roster today. The team will also welcome back right-handers Austin Voth and Jeremy Hellickson, catcher Raudy Read, infielder Adrián Sanchez, and outfielder Andrew Stevenson.

On a night full of letdowns, Yankees’ defense let them down the most

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Game 4 of the ALCS was a gigantic letdown for the Yankees for myriad reasons. They lost, first and foremost, 8-3 to the Astros to fall behind three games to one. Their fans continued to act boorishly. CC Sabathia exited with an injury, likely the final time he’ll pitch in his career. The offense went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

The biggest letdown of the night, though, was the Yankees’ defense. They committed four errors, their highest total in a postseason game since committing five errors in Game 2 of the 1976 ALCS.

Make no mistake: the two three-run home runs hit by George Springer and Carlos Correa, given up by Masahiro and Chad Green respectively, were the big blows in the game. But the errors contributed to the loss and were downright demoralizing.

The first error came at the start of the top of the sixth inning, when Alex Bregman hit a cue shot to first baseman DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu couldn’t read the bounce and the ball clanked off of his knee, allowing Bregman to reach safely. He would score later in the inning on Correa’s blast.

The Yankees committed two errors in the top of the eighth, leading to a run. Yuli Gurriel hit another grounder to LeMahieu, which he couldn’t handle. That not only allowed Gurriel to reach safely, but Bregman — who led off with a double — moved to third base. He would score when second baseman Gleyber Torres couldn’t handle a Yordan Álvarez grounder.

Error number four occurred when Altuve hit a grounder to Torres to lead off the top of the ninth. The ball skipped right under his glove. Facing Michael Brantley, Jonathan Loaisiga uncorked a wild pitch which advanced Altuve to second base. Brantley followed up with a line drive single to left field, plating Altuve for another run. Loaisiga would throw another wild pitch facing Bregman but that one didn’t come back to haunt him.

The Yankees can’t control injuries, the behavior of their fans, or how good the Astros’ pitching is on any given night. They can control the quality of their defense. On Thursday, it was a farce, and now they’re staring down the barrel of having to win three consecutive games against the Astros to stave off elimination.