WASHINGTON -- Here’s the thing about Sean Doolittle: No topic, fortunately, is off-limits.
So, why not discuss Game of Thrones? Why not get into emotional visits to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center? And, of course, why not get into baseball?
We did all of that on the latest episode of The Racing Presidents podcast.
The Nationals’ closer joined us for an exclusive, 20-minute sit down to have some fun but also reflect on the current status of his ball club.
First, to the GOT: Yes, it was dark at times. Doolittle was savvy enough to alter the brightness on his television in order to resolve that problem. From there, he enjoyed the episode -- like most except the crustiest on social media -- and was surprised by the ending.
SPOILER ALERT: There are Game of Thrones spoilers in this podcast
His trip to Walter Reed was stirring. Patients who are going through various stages of recovery. Some are just learning how to live with a new prosthetic. Others are closing in on a departure following a long recovery.
“As much as we get out of it, we’re trying to brighten up their day a little bit,” Doolittle said.
As far as his day job goes, Doolittle said he feels good at the end of April despite a high workload. His velocity is up in recent outings, a change he attributes to a mechanical tweak mastered in the bullpen when the team was in Colorado. Doolittle has made 13 appearances already this season. Twelve came in April when the team was just trying to hover around .500.
“Overall, April has always been a little bit of a mixed bag for me coming out of spring training,” Doolittle said. “Just because spring training is just so much different than anything you do during the season as a back of the bullpen guy. It’s an adjustment going from spring training games that you might play where you’re pitching in the fifth or sixth inning against guys you’ve never seen before to trying to nail down a game in the later innings where there’s all this adrenaline and emotion you don’t get in spring training.”
Doolittle’s status is clear thanks to his 1.35 ERA. The rest of the team is going through fluctuations. Washington has lost eight of 11, is four games under .500 and staring at a rough part of the schedule both in process and opponent. The good news? The other National League East contenders are having trouble, too.
“One thing we have to be aware of, that we have to learn from last year... we dealt with injuries last year, too,” Doolittle said. “I think there was just too much of a sense of just wait until we get healthy. We’ll try to tread water and stay relatively close and once those guys get healthy, we’ll take off. Once those guys got healthy last year, it was almost like it was too late.”
“We’re not far off,” Doolittle said.
Much more in the full podcast. Take a listen, subscribe and download.
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