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Nationals upgrade bullpen with Doolittle and Madson

From ESPN - July 16, 2017

The Washington Nationals made a move Sunday to try and fix the team's struggling bullpen by acquiring reliever Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the Oakland Athletics for Blake Treinen and prospects Jesus Lazardo and Sheldon Neuse. The Nationals are 54-36 this season, the third-best record in baseball and second-best behind the Dodgers in the National League despite 14 blown saves this season.

Bullpen struggles

The Nationals' bullpen has posted a 5.34 ERA this year, which is worst in baseball, and they are just one of two bullpens in baseball with an ERA over 5.00 along with the Tigers. The long ball has been a big issue for their bullpen, allowing 46 home runs this season which is tied for fifth-most in baseball but are allowing home runs on a MLB-worst 4.1 percent of plate appearances this season.

Contrast that with the Nationals rotation, which has been among the best in baseball with a 3.61 ERA entering Sunday, third-best among all teams, and a .232 opponent batting average, which is second only to the Dodgers.

Treinen, who will go to the Athletics in this trade, started the season as Nationals closer but lasted just two weeks in that role before being removed by manager Dusty Baker. Treinen had a 7.11 ERA in his first eight appearances this year before his demotion from the closer role, and he has a 5.46 ERA since losing the job on April 19, allowing runs in 13 of his 29 appearances since.

Will upgrades be enough?

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