1 A’s 7, Indians 3: Oakland finishes three-game sweep.
leading Washington in exchange for onetime Oakland minor-league reliever Blake Treinen, minor-league infielder Sheldon Neuse and minorleague left-hander Jesus Luzardo. Treinen will join Oakland’s bullpen Monday.
Doolittle was the closer for the 2014 team and was a key figure in the bullpen the previous two seasons, too, after a remarkable transition from playing first base to pitching that took less than 10 months. He’s also known for his charitable work with veterans and his support for human-rights causes, as well as for his smart and funny social-media commentary.
“He’s meant so much to this team, not only on the field but off the field and in the community,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He kind of identifies with the fan base. It’s tough to lose guys like that. Ryan Madson is as easy a reliever to manage as I’ve ever had; by the time the game comes, he’ll be ready to pitch for you in any number of roles.”
Doolittle and Madson had been pitching particularly well the past month or so, and Washington had scouted the team for much of that stretch. Madson, 36, has allowed just two runs over his past 16 outings, and no left-handed batter has a hit off Doolittle since October — lefties are 0-for-23 with 12 strikeouts against him this season. And the Nationals are a powerhouse that lacks only a consistent bullpen.
“I’m still a little bit in shock, but that’s not to say I’m not super excited to be headed where I’m headed,” said Doolittle, who is from the southern part of New Jersey and attended the University of Virginia. “It’s close to where I grew up, it’s close to where I went to college . ... Obviously, they’re in a good position. I’m excited to go play some meaningful baseleader ball down the stretch.”
Going with bullpen pal Madson is a plus, Doolittle said. “It might make the transition easier . ... Sometimes it’s the nature of how things work around the deadline, where a team makes a move the new acquisition is seen as the savior; I think going with him kind of helps spread that out a little bit.”
Doolittle, 30, figured out what was happening when he was called into Melvin’s office and found general manager David Forst there. And Doolittle had seen the recent rumblings, with the A’s out of the race and going young; team Stephen Vogt had been waived in June, and third baseman Trevor Plouffe was traded earlier that month.
“I’d seen the rumors, I’d heard the rumors, but so oftentimes, they’re just rumors,” Doolittle said. “But at the same time, you still have a job to do, so you try to keep blinders on. It’s not like we had the apartment packed up or anything.”
Madson, who had just an hour to get his stuff together and get his family organized for the move, did not have time to speak to reporters Sunday.
Reliever Simon Castro was recalled from Triple-A Nashville. He struck out the side and gave up a homer in the ninth inning of Sunday’s 7-3 win over Cleveland. Melvin said that righty Liam Hendriks and lefty Daniel Coulombe probably will pick up more late-inning duty, along with Treinen and John Axford.
There’s no doubt, though, that dealing the team’s seventhand eighth-inning relievers will have an impact.
“Both of them have been great,” second baseman Jed Lowrie said. “That’s going to be two big holes. I don’t really know how you fill those.”
Lowrie is likely to be among the next A’s players traded, with starter Sonny Gray also a good bet to go and first baseman Yonder Alonso a possibility, too.
An A’s fan, in the jersey of A’s Hall of Fame reliever Rollie Fingers, watches Ryan Madson sign autographs in spring training. Madson and Sean Doolittle were traded Sunday.