2019 NLDS: Sean Doolittle Insists Nationals ‘Weirdly Comfortable’ Despite Facing Elimination Against Dodgers

After earning a split of the first two games of the 2019 National League Division Series, the Washington Nationals changed their starting rotation to send Anibal Sanchez to the mound against the Los Angles Dodgers in Game 3.

That pushed Max Scherzer, who logged one inning out of the bullpen on Friday night, back to Game 4. Stephen Strasburg remained on line to start a potential winner-take-all Game 5 on regular rest.

With Sanchez taking the ball in the swing game at Nationals Park, he figured to be backed by Patrick Corbin. The Nationals needing to rely on their starts in relief roles didn’t net positive results as the Dodgers rallied against Corbin to take a decided lead in Game 3.

Despite the Nationals now on the brink of elimination, Sean Doolittle maintained the team is confident because of having Scherzer available and their uphill battle for most of the season, according to Rustin Dodd of The Athletic:

“We’re weirdly comfortable right now,” Doolittle said. “Even though our backs are up against the wall, we got Max going tomorrow and Stras going after him. We kind of feel like we’ve played a lot of must-win games here in the last couple months of the season. We’ve had our backs against the wall before.”

This year’s postseason meeting between the Dodgers and Nationals is just the third all-time; the first came during Montreal Expos franchise history. The Dodgers and Nationals met in the 2016 NLDS, when the Nationals had home-field advantage in a series that went to five games.

Scherzer started the decisive game at home and though he couldn’t pitch the Nationals to a win, only allowed one run and had seven strikeouts in six-plus innings of work.

The Dodgers will look to string together long at-bats against the 35-year-old in what is his third time pitching in seven days. Doolittle, the lone left-handed relief pitcher on the Nationals’ NLDS roster, figures to factor in heavily as well.

Max Muncy has swung a hot bat in the NLDS, Corey Seager is capable of inflicting damage, and Cody Bellinger showed signs of emerging from his rut. Doolittle surrendered a home run to Muncy in the seventh inning of Game 2.