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As Nationals’ bullpen struggles, Tyler Clippard remains a rock
The hulking slugger, the one batter in a depleted Miami Marlins lineup who can strike uncommon fear into opposing pitchers, looked at the first one and swung through the next two.
Three straight fastballs. In a one-run game. Three straight strikes. One out.
“I feel more comfortable with a high fastball,” Clippard said with a shrug. “That’s just how I pitch.”
And just like that, Clippard’s remarkable season rolled on.
The other day, manager Davey Johnson found himself taking a look at some of the stats for his pitching staff. He glanced at the numbers accompanying Clippard’s name and did a double take when he got to the ‘hit’ column. Twenty-eight hits? All year? Could that be right?
Indeed, in 60 1/3 innings this season, facing 230 batters, Clippard has allowed 28 total hits. He has walked 20, given up seven home runs and allowed 15 runs to score while he’s been on the mound (13 earned runs, two inherited runners). That’s a 1.94 ERA. All year. In three days, it will be September.
“It’s ridiculous,” right-hander Craig Stammen said. “It’s unbelievable. I don’t even really understand it, to be honest.
“To me, he’s the best reliever — best noncloser reliever — in the game. He’s probably better than most closers. He could close for a ton of teams, he just hasn’t gotten that shot.”
Clippard does not get as much publicity as he should. He has not been credited with a single save this season, though he did collect 32 in 2012. He transitioned back into a setup role seamlessly.
“I think he’s figured himself out even more than he had in the past,” Stammen said. “He’s always been really confident, but he’s very comfortable with how he’s pitching and he understands the process. His mindset’s about perfect.”
His effectiveness is remarkable. The numbers are jaw-dropping. The results, like with Stanton, can leave plenty shaking their heads.
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About the Author
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
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