But when things fell apart after Christian Yelich helped the Brewers rally to a 15-14 win in extra innings, Doolittle knew something was wrong.
"I thought I was every bit good enough to grind this out," Doolittle explained on Grant & Danny on 106.7 The Fan Tuesday morning. "It was kind of a helpless feeling coming off the mound."
That helplessness led to him being placed on the injured list with a knee injury.
"I kinda battle a little bit of knee tendonitis regularly. It's something I've managed throughout my career," Doolittle said.
He thinks he tweaked it playing in San Diego early June. Since then, he believes his mechanics have suffered trying to alleviate the pain.
"Trying to compensate for it maybe favoring it a little bit subconsciously, my mechanics eroded," Doolittle noted. "It's just this beautiful chaotic circle we have to just pause, get the knee right."
Doolittle says he's going to take the time off to re-work his mechanics. Specifically, he wants to work on a toe-tap and slight hitch he has in his throwing motion, which he described as a subtler version of Clayton Kershaw's famous leg kick.
Clayton Kershaw...6th Consecutive K to start the game. pic.twitter.com/JXW416IsrL
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 14, 2019
"I think there's some things I can do mechanically to get my body in a better position," Doolittle said. "This is an opportunity to get it right."
His big goal is to get his body in "better position over the rubber before the kick."
That way, he can have more momentum over the baseball, especially with a powerful four-seam fastball. "You're basically falling down the mound rather than driving and getting behind the ball."
Throughout the season, he noted he's had good communication with manager Davey Martinez, and that blaming anybody would be a waste of time.
Sean Doolittle on who is to blame: "I wanted to pitch and help the team win. Where we're at now, we're 12 games up, I don't really think it's fair to get into trying to play blame games and trying to figure out who's fault it is. I wanted the ball to help the team win." #Nats
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) August 20, 2019
Since being placed on the IL, he's had a few days to rest before he started some light pitching activities Tuesday.
"It'll be a good break to get my body ready for September and October," he noted. "I'm throwing myself into this process and I'm not hanging my head."
MORE NATIONALS NEWS:
Explosive Offense: Nats on pace to pass Expos for highest-scoring season
New Week: No changes in NL wild card
Bullpen Issues: What is next for Doolittle?