Strasburg, Doolittle win NL monthly pitching awards

A dominant September by both Stephen Strasburg and Sean Doolittle has earned each Nationals pitcher recognition for their efforts.

Strasburg today was named National League Pitcher of the Month, with Doolittle named NL Reliever of the Month, further confirmation of the lights-out work put forth by each staff member during the final stretch of the regular season.

Strasburg was nearly impossible to score off of in September, going 4-0 with an 0.83 ERA in five starts. The right-hander did not allow an earned run in four of those five outings, carrying over a streak from late-August of 35 consecutive scoreless innings.

Strasburg surrendered only two extra-base hits in the month, both doubles, and was the only pitcher in the majors to hold opponents to a slugging percentage under .200.

With that electric closing month, Strasburg finished the season 15-4 with a career-low 2.52 ERA and 1.015 WHIP, which put him in the mix for NL Cy Young Award votes. It also may earn him the start in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, particularly with Max Scherzer possibly needing an extra day to recover from a minor hamstring tweak Saturday night.

Sean-Doolittle-throwing-gray-sidebar.jpgDoolittle wins the Reliever of the Month Award for September even though his numbers were slightly better in August. During the final month, the left-hander posted a 1.64 ERA, converting eight of nine save opportunities and allowing only nine batters to reach base in 11 innings.

That wrapped up a dominant second half of the season for Doolittle, who since his mid-July acquisition from the Athletics firmly established himself as the Nationals' closer heading into the playoffs.

In 30 appearances for the Nats, Doolittle had a 2.40 ERA, 21 saves in 22 attempts, a 1.000 WHIP and 31-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Strasburg and Doolittle join Ryan Zimmerman (Player of the Month in April) and Scherzer (Pitcher of the Month in June) as NL monthly award winners this season.

Umpiring crew announced: The six-man crew that will umpire the NLDS between the Nationals and Cubs was announced by Major League Baseball late this afternoon. Jerry Layne, a veteran of 29 seasons in the big leagues, was named crew chief. It's Layne's 10th Division Series assignment to go along with five League Championship Series and two World Series.

The rest of the crew includes Cory Blaser, Fieldin Culbreth, Laz Diaz, Ron Kulpa and Will Little.

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