Washington Nationals: 3 to watch as Nats head West

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 21: Bryce Harper
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 21: Bryce Harper /
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Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson

The Nats have arguably had the worst bullpen in the league this season, but reinforcements are here. On Sunday, they acquired two relievers, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, from the A’s.

When the Nats made the trade on Sunday, they were in Cincinnati and Doolittle and Madson were in Oakland. Since you’re reading this, you know that the Nats flew from Cincinnati to Los Angeles, which is in the same state as California. There’s no point in having Doolittle and Madson fly from Oakland to Cincinnati just to fly back to Los Angeles the next day, so they have not yet joined the Nats.

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Doolittle and Madson will finally join the Nats tonight. While they only make up two of the seven or eight relievers that the Nats have in their bullpen, they are viewed as a significant upgrade and this is Nats fans’ first look at the improved bullpen.

Another thing to keep an eye on for Nats fans is what roles each pitcher will fill. Doolittle and Madson both have closing experience, but Dusty Baker said they don’t yet know which one will close and it’s possible that they both do.

With the A’s and Angels both in the NL West, Doolittle and Madson have pitched against the Angels a lot. Doolittle has pitched to a 3.21 ERA in 28 games and Madson has pitched to a 1.89 ERA in 18 games, so they have both pitched well against the Angels.

If Doolittle and Madson pitch well throughout this series and the rest of the season, the bullpen should be in good shape. Although the Nats are reportedly interested in possibly acquiring another reliever, they made a great trade to acquire Doolittle and Madson.

How the acquisitions of Doolittle and Madson affect the bullpen will be something to keep an eye on throughout this series and the rest of the season.

Next: Nats stronger after Doolittle and Madson trade

The Nationals have built a huge lead in the NL East, while the Angels are surprisingly right around .500 and three games back in the AL Wild Card race. Edwin Jackson, Mike Trout, Sean Doolittle, and Ryan Madson should all be players to watch during what looks to be an entertaining two-game series featuring two of baseball’s biggest superstars.