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A's Sean Doolittle 1st Pitcher Since 1900 to Reach 40 Ks with Just 1 Walk

Oakland Athletics catcher John Jaso (5) congratulates relief pitcher Sean Doolittle after Doolitle closed out the 10th inning in the Athletics' 5-2 victory over the New York Yankees in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Tuesday, June 3, 2014.  (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press
Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffJune 7, 2014

Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Sean Doolittle picked up his 40th, 41st and 42nd strikeouts of the season in Friday's 4-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles, thus becoming the first pitcher since 1900 to record his 40th K in a season before his second walk, per ESPN Stats & Info via Elias Sports Bureau.

Doolittle turned in a typically dominant performance Friday night, striking out Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Steve Pearce on just 12 pitches to earn his eighth save of the year. He hasn't given up a run since April 26, when he allowed four in an ugly appearance against the Texas Rangers.

Despite finishing April with a 5.68 ERA, Doolittle now carries a 2.48 mark to complement his ridiculous 42:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The A's closer-by-committee appears to be a thing of the past, as Doolittle has turned into the full-time stopper with four saves already in June.

Both a pitcher and first baseman in college at the University of Virginia, Doolittle was drafted by the A's as a batter but converted back to pitching after he struggled to stay healthy at first base. He reached the majors in 2012 after tossing just 26 innings in the minor leagues.

Doolittle pitched well in his first two seasons, but he's reached another level in 2014. In addition to piling up strikeouts and avoiding walks, the lefty has given up just two home runs while surrendering a meager .208/.249/.314 slash line to his opponents.

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