- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Washington Nationals placed closer Sean Doolittle on the 10-day injured list, citing right knee tendinitis, and recalled right-hander Kyle McGowin from Double-A Harrisburg to take his roster spot.

Doolittle blew a save opportunity in the Nationals’ marathon 15-14 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday, giving up four earned runs in the ninth inning — including three home runs —and managing only one out.

Doolittle also blew a save Aug. 9 at the Mets when he allowed six hits and four runs, and he gave Washington a scare when he allowed three hits, a walk and two runs Aug. 12 against the Reds before closing out the save.

Manager Dave Martinez defended his heavy usage of Doolittle, who has pitched several games where the Nationals had a lead of at least three runs. He has a 12.86 ERA this month.

“He has always had knee issues,” Martinez said before Sunday’s game. “He can’t get on that front side like he wants to (on his delivery). I told him, ‘You are not letting anybody down. But we have to get you right.’ It came to a head.”

While Doolittle is unavailable, Washington could turn to 42-year-old Fernando Rodney or the recently-acquired Daniel Hudson or Hunter Strickland to pitch in the ninth inning. But Martinez implied none of them would wrest the job away from Doolittle in the long term.

“Doolittle is the closer. He is the closer on this team. If he is available, he is going to pitch,” Martinez said.

McGowin pitched in the Sunday afternoon rubber match after the Nationals used nine pitchers in a 14-inning loss Saturday. McGowin gave up four runs over two innings in a 16-8 Nationals win over the Brewers.

• Adam Zielonka can be reached at azielonka@washingtontimes.com.

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