Sean Doolittle has never had great success in closing games, although the sample size (11 games) is so small as to be irrelevant.
He had a chance to lock down his fifth career Tuesday night when he was handed a 9-7 lead, but he was taken down by a Kole Calhoun double and a Mike Trout homer.
Doolittle blamed no one but himself.
“That was a thigh-high fastball over the middle of the plate,’’ Doolittle said, indicating that Trout could not have asked for a better location. And when you put the leadoff guy on, you’re just asking for it.’’
Doolittle probably didn’t lose too much sleep over that one, though, because the A’s came back to win the game. And good days end like that.
“When I came back into the dugout, it seemed like it was just a matter of time before we’d push another run across,’’ he said. “We’ve been playing great baseball the whole time. It was unfortunate we lost the lead, but we rebound.
“Games like this say everything about this team, and about who we are. We’re close-knit we play team baseball and we love to play. We’re not relying on one or two guys. We rely on 25.’’
Doolittle is one of those the club relies on the most. And his relative lack of success so far as an occasional closer doesn’t figure to be held against him if and when it’s his time to take over in the ninth inning.
But the great talent he’s shown to date in his career is to serve as the eighth-inning bridge to whoever the A’s closer is. So it should not come as a surprise if in the next week or two Jim Johnson is back as the closer and Doolittle is back sharing eighth inning time with Ryan Cook and Luke Gregerson and Dan Otero.