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Sean Doolittle on recent pitching woes: 'It was kind of of a helpless feeling'

Sean Doolittle on recent pitching woes: 'It was kind of of a helpless feeling'

When Sean Doolittle pitched Friday evening against the Milwaukee Brewers, he thought he'd made huge progress on his mechanics and felt good heading into Saturday's game.

But when things fell apart after Christian Yelich helped the Brewers rally to a 15-14 win in extra innings, Doolittle knew something was wrong.

"I thought I was every bit good enough to grind this out," Doolittle explained on Grant & Danny on 106.7 The Fan Tuesday morning.  "It was kind of a helpless feeling coming off the mound."

That helplessness led to him being placed on the injured list with a knee injury.

"I kinda battle a little bit of knee tendonitis regularly. It's something I've managed throughout my career," Doolittle said.

He thinks he tweaked it playing in San Diego early June. Since then, he believes his mechanics have suffered trying to alleviate the pain.

"Trying to compensate for it maybe favoring it a little bit subconsciously, my mechanics eroded," Doolittle noted. "It's just this beautiful chaotic circle we have to just pause, get the knee right."

Doolittle says he's going to take the time off to re-work his mechanics. Specifically, he wants to work on a toe-tap and slight hitch he has in his throwing motion, which he described as a subtler version of Clayton Kershaw's famous leg kick.

"I think there's some things I can do mechanically to get my body in a better position," Doolittle said. "This is an opportunity to get it right."

His big goal is to get his body in "better position over the rubber before the kick."

That way, he can have more momentum over the baseball, especially with a powerful four-seam fastball. "You're basically falling down the mound rather than driving and getting behind the ball." 

Throughout the season, he noted he's had good communication with manager Davey Martinez, and that blaming anybody would be a waste of time.

Since being placed on the IL, he's had a few days to rest before he started some light pitching activities Tuesday.

"It'll be a good break to get my body ready for September and October," he noted. "I'm throwing myself into this process and I'm not hanging my head."

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A banner day in Nationals history remains on hold

A banner day in Nationals history remains on hold

The most populous items at Nationals Park on Thursday morning were orange traffic barrels. They were stained by dirt and flanked by wire fencing near the home plate entrance on South Capitol Street. No one was around. A handful of cars drove past, heading toward the downtown section of a city all but at a standstill. Across the street, the new arches of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge stood bright and quiet.

Thursday was not supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be a day to remember and fete the 2019 World Series champions. The team had one home exhibition game scheduled before the regular season was supposed to begin March 26 in New York. That would have been the first chance for fans to see the Nationals on the field in their home park since winning Game 7 in Houston.

But, this Thursday was set to bring the big celebration. The flag up, the trophy in the stadium, perhaps a ring reveal. Booming cheers for player after player, so many of which are returning: Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, Ryan Zimmerman, Howie Kendrick, Sean Doolittle, Daniel Hudson, Juan Soto, Victor Robles, on and on.

The game was set to start just after one in the heart of a mostly sunny day. Temperature in the 60s, Strasburg, off his World Series MVP and new offseason contract, lined up to pitch, a division rival and its boisterous traveling fans in town. All that joy has been stalled while baseball and the rest of the country adheres to restrictions in an attempt to slow the hard-charging coronavirus.

“You can always look at every situation with a positive or negative kind of light,” Max Scherzer said. “We were ready to start the season. We were all ready. We were gung-ho ready to start the season. The thing is, life in this world now, we’ve all had to deal with drastic change to our lives and everybody’s trying to do the best they can to cope with it and try to make the best of the situation when we’re in such a dire crisis right now.”

Like Scherzer, Mike Rizzo remains in West Palm Beach. The general manager’s daily work has been contorted by baseball’s hiatus and unknown start date. While managing this new normal, Rizzo is hunting for something other than gloom while the whole sport is in a standstill.

“This is going to be a very, very special Opening Day for us when it happens,” Rizzo said earlier in the week. “We still have that to look forward to. On the brighter side, the glass half-full view is we're the reigning world champions and we still are clutching hard to that trophy. We've got ourselves a banner-raising ceremony coming. We've got ourselves some beautiful rings that we're going to be able to wear around D.C. in the very near future. Although we're thinking daily and hourly about the humanity of what's going on right now, we also have that to look forward to when we get through this thing and we come out the other side and baseball begins again.”

For now, he waits. They all wait. Another marquee day has passed without its previously planned party ever starting. Nationals Park is closed to the defending World Series champions, and it’s unclear when it will open again.

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Patrick Corbin starts #QuarantineCuts challenge, getting fans to post videos of wives cutting their hair

Patrick Corbin starts #QuarantineCuts challenge, getting fans to post videos of wives cutting their hair

Barber shops and hair stylists across the country have shut their doors as government have restricted the operations of non-essential businesses to help quell the spread of coronavirus.

Nationals starter Patrick Corbin saw that as an opportunity to encourage fans to stay at home by challenging them to record videos of their wives giving them haircuts and post them on social media with #QuarantineCuts.

Corbin started off the challenge by having his wife Jen cut his hair with trimmers. In a series of photos and videos he posted on his Instagram Story, the Corbins showed the progress of Patrick’s haircut—his usual fade.

As many athletes across professional sports have participated in challenges on TikTok and Instagram, Corbin is hoping to throw a new one in the mix with the goal of keeping people indoors and flattening the curve enough for life to return to normal.

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