Doolittle: 2019 playoff berth 'more special' than previous years

The Washington Nationals are no strangers to the postseason as Tuesday marked the fifth time they've clinched an appearance in eight years.

But this specific clinching celebration, which was only made possible by playing at a .644 winning percentage (69-38) since their horrific 19-31 start to the season (.380), felt "much more special," Sean Doolittle tells 106.7 The Fan's Grant & Danny during his weekly appearance, presented by Lindsay Volvo Cars of Alexandria.

The Nationals savored the moment well into the night, so late that Doolittle couldn't recall when they left.

"We stayed in the clubhouse for quite a while," he said. "I'm not exactly sure what time we ended up leaving. I'm also not sure exactly what time it started after the game."

"Several of us were talking about how much more special it was than the celebration that we had in '17, even though that was a division title," he said. "This one was a lot more fun. This one was a lot more special. And it definitely lasted a lot longer last night, hanging out in the clubhouse and spending time with each other."

This marks Doolittle's fifth postseason and second with the Nationals, his last coming in 2017 when Washington won 97 games en route to an NL East title (and a Game 5 NLDS loss to the Cubs).

Asked why clinching this year felt more special than previous fights for the playoffs, Doolittle said, "The veteran team that we have, I think we've realized, guys realized how hard it is to get to the postseason, how fragile it is and just the narrative of the season, starting off the way that we did."

"People talk about the turnaround that we've had since May 24," he went on. "But early in the season – in April and May – things were looking pretty rough and, shoot, a lot of us were getting traded, right? You know, the manager was gonna get fired."

"Yeah, you were gone," Paulsen quipped. "You were a Dodger, Sean."

"Yeah. Yeah. Not bad for a bunch of guys that were on different teams that ended up getting traded, I guess," said Doolittle. "There was a lot of doubt and stuff from people kind of outside our clubhouse, but the way that we banded together – I don't know, it just feels a little bit more rewarding, I guess, so we definitely enjoyed it."

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