Oakland Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle had another poor outing on Saturday against the Chicago White Sox, giving up three earned runs in the eighth inning that turned a 1-1 tie into a 4-1 Chicago lead.
Doolittle, one of the A’s key bullpen arms down the stretch in 2012 and for most of 2013, has had a rough week.
Earlier this week in Milwaukee, he gave up two runs in the eighth, squandering a 3-1 A’s lead in a game they’d eventually lose 4-3 in extra innings — and this came after his initial rough outing in San Francisco in which he gave up a few runs (but the A’s held on for the win).
Considering how lights-out Doolittle has been in the bullpen since the A’s called him up late last season, his recent issues have seemed quite bewildering.
He’s expressed confusion about his recent performance, telling reporters that he has felt confident in his pitches and that he doesn’t think there’s any mechanical issue(s) at the source of the troubles.
After Saturday’s game, MLB.com’s Jane Lee tweeted that Doolittle greeted the media in the clubhouse by saying “I’ve been seeing you guys a lot, huh?” She also noted that Doolittle said he felt that he ‘made his pitches’ but ‘just got beat’ today by the White Sox hitters, including Paul Konerko, who put the game on ice with a two-run homer.
Doolittle is a key part of the A’s late-inning relief crew. He basically shares the setup role with Ryan Cook. Hopefully he figures out whatever the issue is and gets back to the Doolittle of old — as the A’s really rely on him from the left side.