Sean Doolittle believes he still hasn't hit his 'stride' yet

Josh Luckenbaugh
July 02, 2019 - 12:34 pm
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The Nationals are rolling, winners of five of their last six and now just 1.5 games out of a wild card spot.

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But at least one player, closer Sean Doolittle, believes he still hasn't pitched to his potential yet this season. 

"I haven't hit my stride like I did the last couple of years," Doolittle told Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier during his weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance Tuesday, presented by Lindsay Volvo Cars of Alexandria. "I haven't found that consistent groove where it feels like you're on auto-pilot and ... you feel like you could do it with your eyes closed."

"But that's part of pitching in this role is just getting it done. And it's not always pretty: sometimes you have to do that high-wire act and it gets a little more adventurous than you originally planned on."

"There is kind of an art form to managing that damage and navigating those innings when you're not feeling you're best, and I feel like I've been able to do a pretty good job of that this year," he continued. "But I also think my best baseball, my best pitching, I still think is ahead of me this season."

Doolittle, who currently has a 3.18 ERA and 18 saves in 21 chances, told Grant & Danny back in May he believed his heavy workload in the first few months of the season led to a lapse in his mechanics. In fact, Doolittle was concerned he would get traded if the Nats didn't turn things around. 

"It was on my mind. I don't know if it was on anyone else's mind," Doolittle said Tuesday. "That's just kinda the life of a lefty reliever. We tend to move around a lot around trade season, so it was something that was in the back of my mind because I do love it here and I want to win here."

"I don't want to get traded, so on a personal level, I'm really excited that we turned it around so quickly. ... We've put ourselves in a really good position."

Doolittle plans to use the upcoming All-Star break to recharge and get set for the second half but added he's excited to see teammates Anthony Rendon play in his first All-Star Game

"I'm looking forward to some downtime, also looking forward to Max (Scherzer) and Tony do their thing (in the All-Star Game)," Doolittle told Grant & Danny. "Max goes every year, rightfully so, but I'm really excited for Tony to finally get that All-Star nod, to get that recognition."

"I know he likes to fly under the radar, but at the end of the day I'm happy for him that he gets to experience the craziness that is the All-Star Game."

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