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Topic - Tyler Clippard
Nats GM Mike Rizzo does not expect to run the decision by his players. What he might find if he asked, though, is a group that already has a pretty good idea of who they'd like to lead them.
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)
Since Opening Day, the moves the Nationals have made — largely due to poor performance — have slowly acknowledged their errors in expectations.
Starting, Steve McCatty said, "always has been the Cadillac job in the big leagues. Everyone wants to do it. That's where most of the glory is and, if you can be a good starter, that's what you want." But you can't always get what you want. Someone has to pitch in relief.
The best time to ask a clubhouse attendant to grab a couple of Big Macs from the McDonald's up South Capitol Street from Nationals Park is not when the clubhouse chef is within earshot. "Are you crazy?" Sultani remembered telling the attendant. "Do not go get him that burger."
"I met a guy today who had been through 49 surgeries," said Chad Tracy. "I've been through four of five myself, just to imagine a guy going through almost 50 surgeries, to see he was still a driven, confident, leader of a man really touched me."
Not much has changed for Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond when it comes to a possible contract extension. The team is still open to discussing one with Desmond, and Desmond is still open to considering it.
Harper homered in his first two at-bats to account for the only scoring and Strasburg pitched seven shutout innings as the defending NL East champs opened their 2013 campaign.
Talented but inconsistent Henry Rodriguez will be in the bullpen to open the season for the Washington Nationals. He can be maddening but it is still too early to give up on him.
White cinder block walls lead the way. Past the security guard in need of a cup of coffee just after 8 a.m. on a cool March morning. Through the makeshift clubhouse kitchen at Space Coast Stadium where three plug-in griddles serve up pancakes and eggs with toppings stored in plastic containers.
It didn't take Mattheus long to look around the Nationals' clubhouse this spring and realize that, of the relievers on the team's 40-man roster, there is precisely one who throws with his left hand: Zach Duke.
They'll report to Viera, Fla., in two more weeks and begin the process of finding their place on the 2013 incarnation of the Nationals, one in which they'll try to find space for three closers.
Until last week, the Washington Nationals were set to decamp next month to the master-planned communities and chain restaurants of Viera, Fla., for spring training with a startling absence of dramatics. Enter Rafael Soriano.
If there was one takeaway from Soriano's introduction, officially installing him in a bullpen that already contained two right-handers with significant closing experience in Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, it was that closing games was precisely what he was brought here to do.
It was a cold fall night three months ago when the Nationals stood one strike away from the National League Championship Series. When they were forced to turn their eyes toward the future and, difficult as it may have been, see that it was still bright.
"Those kind of decisions are out of our hands," Clippard said. "Those are tough decisions to make, but at the end of the day, where our organization stands right now, we're going to be in a good spot going into next year, from a player standpoint."
"The only thing I ask of whoever makes the decisions on the managerial side of things is: Don't mess it up," said right-hander Tyler Clippard. "We've got a good thing going on here. Hopefully whoever comes in here next year realizes that, and the dynamic of the chemistry that we've built over the last two seasons is a very important thing."