Sean Doolittle Belongs On The All Star Team

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America

Let’s talk about two relievers.

Last season, Koji Uehara was a good if not spectacular reliever who joined the Boston Red Sox. He was not the first choice to be the closer. They brought in Joel Hanrahan to be the closer. Boston also had Andrew Bailey. But a combination of injuries and inconsistencies gave Uehara a shot. He responded with an epic season, one that saw Uehara emerge as a difference making reliever. He became unhittable and the Red Sox rode that wave all the way to the World Series.

Fast forward to 2014 and a similar scenario is unfolding in the East Bay.

Sean Doolittle began 2014 as a solid reliever and one who gave the A’s much needed bullpen depth. With the loss of Grant Balfour to free agency, the A’s imported Jim Johnson to close, similar to Boston’s trade of Hanrahan.

But Johnson struggled and manager Bob Melvin turned to a closer by committee of right hander Luke Gregerson and the lefty Doolittle. And while Gregerson pitched well, and still has an ERA of 1.96 with three saves, Doolittle responded by not only taking over the closer role, but has put up jaw dropping numbers that should earn him a spot on the All Star Team.

This is not simply a tally of his saves. Each team has a pitcher that piles up the saves if they can hold a 3 run lead in the 9th. But Doolittle has pitched at a level where it almost doesn’t seem fair to the opposing hitters.

(Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

(Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

A former first base prospect who turned to pitching while recovering from injuries in the minors, Doolittle has walked a single batter the entire season. One damn batter. In case you are wondering, it was Tampa’s Ryan Hanigan who walked with 2 out and nobody on in the 9th of an A’s 3-0 win.

After today’s win against Texas, he currently has 48 strikeouts in 34 innings. Because he still is on that single walk, Doolittle has the easiest strikeout to walk ratio to figure out in baseball. A 48 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio is unheard of. Ashley Hagewood of Fansided pointed out in an article that that ratio would be the greatest a reliever ever had in history if he could keep it going.

Ever. Name any reliever you want. He would beat that pitcher by a wide margin.

Doolittle has allowed 2 homers all season and one was by Mike Trout. There is no shame in surrendering a long ball to the best player in the game.

And as eye popping as Doolittle’s numbers are, plus his converting 9 out of 10 save chances and an ERA of 2.12, they are even better on closer examination.

On April 26, he had a bad game against Houston, letting up 4 hits and all of them came around to score. His ERA ballooned to 6.17.

He has not let up a run since. He has let up 6 hits, 1 walk and struck out 35 in 22 1/3 innings.

Take out the one appearance against Houston and his ERA would be 1.05.

And pay attention to the fact that Doolittle is on a streak of 22 1/3 shutout innings. The record is 59 by Orel Hershiser. Does he have 37 straight more in him?

So like the Red Sox with Uehara, the A’s have stumbled across a dominant force in the bullpen. And keep in mind each of the last three World Series and 5 of the last 9 Series were clinched by pitchers who did not begin the season as the team’s closer.

The A’s are currently the best team in baseball, so they should be well represented in Target Field this July. Make sure Sean Doolittle makes the trip.

It has been quite a year for Doolittle who has made the leap from set up man to closer and inked a lucrative contract extension along the way. What has been the difference?

I can not say for sure, but I DO know that since he was a guest on my podcast in the fall, his numbers have been through the roof.

I am not saying it is BECAUSE of my podcast, but other big leaguers should take the chance and join the show. Maybe you can be the next Sean Doolittle.

Enjoy Sean’s two appearances on the show…

November 11th, 2013

And November 12th, 2013

The Sleeping Bats Awaken Late in Boston



Kyle Gibson threw 7 innings of 1 hit, shutout ball. He got a no decision.

John Lackey threw 9 innings of 3 hit, shutout ball. He will get no decision, no complete game nor shutout for his efforts.

Jared Burton threw one pitch. He nearly got the win.

Koji Uehara nearly got the loss.

It was a day of a lot of pitching. And despite being held to a single hit and no runs over 9 innings, they found their bats. Back to back solo shots by David Ortiz and Mike Napoli gave the Red Sox a sweep of the Twins despite being shut down almost every game.

Meanwhile the Giants rally falls short and the A’s roll on.

Time to update the Dodged Bullet/Teeth Grinder tally.

An explanation of what this is all about can be found HERE.





Tim Hudson has a rare bad outing, putting the Giants in a 7-2 hole. The comeback involved lots of 1 run innings and even more men left on base. Without getting the big extra basehit, San Francisco never could wipe out the White Sox lead and fell 7-6. TEETH GRINDER

30 Dodged Bullets 21 Teeth Grinders

TOTAL: + 9




Sean Doolittle continued his rampage as closer, slamming the door on the Rangers and the A’s took the series with a 4-2 win. DODGED BULLET

25 Dodged Bullets 23 Teeth Grinders





The Red Sox nearly wasted John Lackey’s 9 shutout innings by getting only 1 hit and no runs themselves against Kyle Gibson and two other Minnesota relievers. Down 1-0 in the bottom of the 10th, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli slammed back to back homers to give  the Sox another 2-1 win and a series sweep. DODGED BULLET

24 Dodged Bullets 28 Teeth Grinders


A’s and Red Sox start playing tomorrow… this tally will be getting a lot of attention this weekend.

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – June 18, 2014

Patrick Breen/azcentral sports

Patrick Breen/azcentral sports

The Arizona Diamondbacks are a disgrace of an organization. They are “fake tough” and showed yesterday that winning is not priority number one.

In the wake of the beanball that led to a Brewers grand slam, Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers need to go. The organization is rudderless and need to be make major changes now.

That is the topic for today’s episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.


Jonathan LuCroy, Mike Trout, Matt Shoemaker, Michael Wacha, Josh Harrison, Rougned Odor and Phil Hughes all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball

Continue reading