Sean Doolittle is in one of the roughest stretches of his career, and Saturday night may serve as a breaking point.
Doolittle assured manager Davey Martinez that he was ready to go, but he clearly didn't have his best stuff.
"Tonight, man, I just didn’t have anything," Doolittle said, according to Mark Zuckerman of MASN. "So, yeah, we’re going to have to figure something out. I’m going to have to figure something out. Because this team, they deserve better right now."
Doolittle threw 13 pitches before being yanked Saturday. It was his second straight day on the mound, and he's now tossed 52 innings on the season - his most since he completed 62 2/3 frames with the Oakland Athletics in 2014.
The veteran southpaw, who has battled various injuries throughout his career, recently said he was concerned about his heavy workload. Over 54 appearances, he has posted a 4.33 ERA while converting a career-high 28 saves.
Martinez and the two-time All-Star acknowledged that they may need to reconsider how often Doolittle is available to take the mound down the stretch.
"I'm giving everything I’ve got," Doolittle added. "But I don’t know. It’s really, really tough. It’s frustrating. This time of year, with how well we’ve been playing, with everything at stake, with everything this team can still accomplish, you want to be out there. You want to help the team. But I haven’t been pulling my weight here these last couple weeks."
The Nationals sit in second place in the National League East at 66-56 and have won seven of their last 10 games. The bullpen has been a source of concern all season; only the Baltimore Orioles' relief corps has a worse ERA than Washington's 6.06.