A scheduled off day in the National League Championship Series didn't stop Sean Doolittle from throwing heat.
The Washington Nationals pitcher came to the defense of fellow reliever Daniel Hudson. Hudson, who is Washington's closer, excused himself from playing in Game 1 of the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals to be with his wife Sara as the couple welcomed their third daughter Millie.
Some fans and analysts criticized Hudson's decision to skip a playoff game, but Doolittle held back nothing in sticking up for his teammate.
"If your reaction to someone having a baby is anything other than, ‘Congratulations, I hope everybody is healthy,’ you’re an a*****e." Hudson declared to Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic.
Appropriately, Doolittle was also the one who stood in for Hudson as the Nationals closer in Game 1. He secured the final four outs without incident as Washington won the game 2-0.
Hudson showed no rust in making a Game 2 return, getting the last two outs in the Nationals' 3-1 victory and earning a save. He needed just five pitches to close out the contest. This time, it was Hudson who picked up the slack for Doolittle. The latter ran into some trouble against the Cardinals, allowing the only run of the game. But Hudson and Patrick Corbin combined to pitch a perfect ninth inning to bring a 2-0 series lead back to Washington.
Doolittle further defended Hudson's choice in a feature by ESPN's Jeff Passan.
"As important as our careers are to us as players, nothing is more important to us than our families," Doolittle says. "Our careers will end someday, but family is forever. We sacrifice so much and we miss so much during our careers. We miss graduations and weddings. Lots of players might miss their kids' first steps or first words. They're gone six to eight months out of the year and can't take their kids to school or help their wives with taking care of the kids. So when he said, 'Hey, I need a day to be with my family because my wife is about to give birth,' it was a no-brainer for me, and we focused all our energy on picking him up."
Doolittle and Hudson will look to keep up their their profitable collaboration as the Nationals take on the Cardinals in Game 3 on Monday night at Nationals Park (7:38 p.m. ET, TBS).