CINCINNATI (AP) — Looking to fortify a bullpen that has blown more than a third of its save chances, the Washington Nationals acquired relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from the Oakland Athletics for right-hander Blake Treinen and a pair of prospects.
Left-hander Jesus Luzardo and infielder Sheldon Neuse were sent to Oakland as part of Sunday’s deal.
A 36-year-old right-hander, Madson has a 2.06 ERA and is seventh among relievers in hits plus walks per inning at 0.79. He has not allowed any of the seven inherited runners to score in his past 13 appearances and has held opponents to a .188 batting average.
Doolittle is a 30-year-old left-hander who has held left-handed batters hitless in 23 at-bats this year with 12 strikeouts and no walks. He is 1-0 with three saves, a 3.38 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings.
NL East-leading Washington has a strong rotation led by Max Scherzer (11-5), Stephen Strasburg (9-3) and Gio Gonzalez (8-4) but has converted just 22 of 36 save chances. Bullpen issues helped lead to the Nationals’ elimination in the NL Division Series in 2012, 2014 and 2016. The Montreal Expos/Nationals franchise has never reached the World Series.
Nationals closer Koda Glover converted eight of 10 save chances but has not pitched since June 10 because of severe inflammation of the rotator cuff. Treinen, 29, started the season as Washington’s closer and is 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA in 37 relief appearances, allowing opponents a .320 batting average.