Results tagged ‘ Tyler Clippard ’
NEW YORK — Right-hander Tyler Clippard is clearly the Nationals’ best reliever this year. Entering Sunday’s action against the Mets, Clippard was 6-2 with a 1.94 ERA and led the National League with 28 holds.
One thing Clippard doesn’t want to do is end the season on a bad note, like he did last year. During the final month of the 2012 season, Clippard allowed 12 runs in 13 1/3 innings.
Clippard is motivated to show that he can be consistent for a whole season, including the month of September.
“It’s all about how you finish in this game. I felt like I was part of the reason everything happened like it did [toward the end of the 2012 season and the postseason],” Clippard said. “I didn’t want that to happen again. It motivated me to finish strong. We still have a month left, but I’m still working hard.”
By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter
The Nationals entered 2013 with legitimate World Series aspirations, as well as the enormous pressure that comes with them.
With each loss, that pressure grew. The Nats pressed. The pressure grew. The season snowballed to the point of potential failure, a three-game series against the Braves last week. The pressure bottlenecked at that series, and when the Nationals were swept by Atlanta, extinguishing any hopes of a second straight National League East title, that pressure vanished.
The Nationals have won five straight since.
“Maybe we just said, ‘Screw it,’” Jayson Werth said. “We just got our [butts] kicked. What do we got to lose? It was definitely a flip that was switched. Hopefully it was the right one.”
After every brief winning streak this season, players were asked if this would be the streak to ignite their season. And after every ugly loss, they were asked if they had finally hit rock bottom. Tyler Clippard said that being swept by the Braves was finally it.
“This game, it kind of beats you down so bad at times that I feel like we hit rock bottom and we’re like, ‘All right, let’s just go out there and play and not worry about what’s going on and who is winning what games and focus on ourselves,’” he said. “Unfortunately we did lose three to the Braves, but it let us take a step back and be like, ‘All right guys, let’s just play baseball and see what happens.’ And that’s what we’re doing right now and it’s a lot more fun that way, these last five games.”
Manager Davey Johnson always says that baseball is 90 percent mental. Early in the season, he tried to build confidence in his bench and bullpen by using struggling players in important situations. He has shuffled the lineup to help hitters find a mental comfort zone. But when asked Wednesday if this winning streak was the result of lifted pressure, Johnson said the Nationals are simply playing better baseball.
“Throughout the lineup we’re swinging the bats better,” Johnson said. “Water seeks its level and sooner or later everybodys going to start getting hits with runners in scoring position. We’ve got too good of talent.”
By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter
Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez released a statement Monday after being declared innocent in Major League Baseball’s Biogenesis Investigation.
“I am very pleased that Major League Baseball has cleared my name,” Gonzalez said in the statement. “With this process now complete, I have no lingering sense of animosity, as I quickly realized that the objective of this investigation was to clean up our game. This is an ideal that I share with both Major League Baseball and the MLBPA. I would also like to acknowledge the unwavering support of my teammates, the Lerner Family, Mike Rizzo, Davey Johnson, our coaching staff and Nationals fans everywhere.”
Gonzalez declined further comment before Monday’s game against the Braves.
Tyler Clippard, who with the demotion of Drew Storen is now the Nationals’ union player representative, said that he was happy to see Gonzalez proclaimed innocent, but also upset that the left-hander’s name was connected with the investigation in the first place.
“I think it’s unfortunate that he was on the list to begin with,” Clippard said. “He’s obviously doing the right things. Gio’s a good guy and obviously wasn’t cheating, so for him to be on the list in the first place was kind of unfortunate. But I guess it’s kind of good for him to get a clean slate. He really should’ve never been mentioned anyway, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s good that he’s clean.”
By and large, players in the Nationals’ clubhouse were happy for Gonzalez but at all surprised by his innocence. Adam LaRoche said that it was a non-issue. He always knew that Gonzalez was clean.
“I think we did, enough of us talked to him early on that we knew he was free and clear on that,” LaRoche said. “It’s good peace of mind for him, and for any skeptics out there, to have it confirmed. I’m sure it’s a big weight of his shoulders.”
By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter
The Nationals optioned Drew Storen to Triple-A Syracuse after Friday’s doubleheader, and Storen’s close friend — and former roommate — Tyler Clippard had some strong words on the move. Here’s what he said, in its entirety:
“It’s tough. I mean, he’s done a lot this year as far as he’s worked hard, tried to get out of this funk. It kind of snowballed on him there to get to this point. It’s just unfortunate. I think there’s a lot of things that led to this that could’ve been prevented. You know, you basically send a guy a message this offseason for having one bad game that he’s not the guy for the job. He’s only human, you know? I mean, it’s going to get to anybody. He hasn’t had to deal with a lot of adversity. He’s came up and had unbelievable stuff. He had success right away. Came in last year, coming off of a surgery, and pitched huge games for us in a 98 win season. Picked me up when I was struggling in September. Picked our team up in the playoffs. Had one bad game. You know, eight months later, you get to a point where he’s struggling and you turn the page on him, you know, you send him down. It’s not necessarily turning the page on him because I think he needs to go down and regroup, and get out of this environment, take a deep breath and regather himself. So I think it’s going to help him. I just think it’s been handled very poorly. And it could’ve gone either way. I know the same message was sent to me. And I’ve been through adversity in my career, you know? So I know how to handle it. So, you know, this is a tough day. He’s going to be part of this organization for a long time, I hope, because he’s good. And we need him. But if he goes somewhere else, he’s going to be great for them, you know? So it’s one of those things that I think was handled very poorly by the organization but at the same time, that’s the decision that was made and we have to move forward as a team. We have great guys in this locker room that are going to get it done. We’re going to make a playoff push at the end of the season, I have no doubt about that. But this is a tough day.”
Clippard, who was visibly emotional, was then asked why this move is so tough for him.
“It’s multiple reasons, yeah. Obviously me and Drew are close. We’re good friends. But at the end of the day, you’d like to think that there’s a human element involved in this whole thing and I think there was on both sides of it. I can understand, you know, after the devastation that happened last year, maybe trying to make a change and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to bring in somebody that we think can get it done in that big situation.’ It’s just the wrong message to send, I think. But at the end of the day, that’s what happened and that’s where we’re at. So it’s up to me, it’s up to Drew, it’s up to everyone in this locker room to kind of pick ourselves up and move forward. And that’s what we have to do, we have no choice. That’s what this game’s all about. So, this is part of it. There’s definitely human element involved in both sides of it and I can understand that.”
The Nationals’ relievers are off to a slow start, allowing 20 runs in 21 2/3 innings entering Wednesday action against the White Sox. Ryan Mattheus and Drew Storen are the only pitchers in the bullpen with an ERA of 3.00 or lower. After seven games last year, the relievers allowed just six runs in 20 1/3 innings.
As recently as Tuesday night, the Nats’ bullpen allowed six runs to the White Sox. The big blows came when Paul Konerko hit a three-run homer off Tyler Clippard, while Rafael Soriano allowed a two-run homer to Alex Rios.
But pitching coach Steve McCatty isn’t worried about the bullpen and feels it will get its act together soon. All that matters to McCatty is that the Nationals are winning. The team is 5-2 entering Wednesday’s action.
“Yesterday was two mistakes and we didn’t hit our spots – fastball in and a slider away,” said McCatty who was referring to Clippard and Soriano. “Do I have any concerns? No. Could they do better? Sure. But it’s still early. Clip didn’t give up a run all spring, so something is going to happen. Sori has a little tweak in his leg and that is not an excuse, but it was a pitch we knew you can’t throw that kind of mistake — breaking ball that spins over the plate. He left it in there.
“Everybody is looking at the first seven games that we are playing. Could we be sharper? Sure. Is there a reason to doubt it? No. There is going to be stretches during the season, where everybody is going to have their moments where everything is clicking together. But fortunately, the offense has been good enough that we are still able to get the wins.”
McCatty said he doesn’t have any concerns about anyone in the bullpen, including Henry Rodriguez, who is coming off elbow problems.
“Henry has done better. His arm is feeling fine,” McCatty said. “With him, every once in a while, he has a tendency to overthrow. We know that. But the next time out [against the Reds] he threw nine pitches. So it’s an on-going thing with him. He is still a young kid and learning what he needs to do every time. Am I concern about him? No. He has unbelievable stuff. He has to learn how to harness it.”
After watching his team shutout the Mets, 3-0, on Saturday night, Nationals manager Davey Johnson made it clear that he wants relievers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard to remain on the team past the non-waiver Trade Deadline, which is Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
In a recent close-door meeting, Storen told Johnson that he didn’t want to be traded. Reports have surfaced that Storen could be traded to the Twins for outfielder Denard Span. Johnson told Storen that he wanted him around.
“You can’t take anything for granted. I don’t,” Johnson told the media. “I didn’t think [Jerry] Hairston was going anywhere. … Anything could happen.”
In his first full season with the Nats, Storen has 26 saves with a 2.63 ERA in 49 games.
“This is where I want to be. That’s the reason I signed quickly,” Storen said. “I wanted to join the organization because I want to be part of turning this thing around.
“I’ve only been here for a year and half, but emotionally I feel like I’ve invested a lot into this. I want to turn this team around. But at the same time, I understand that [general manager] Mike [Rizzo] has a job to do himself. So I can understand the business side of things, too.”
Johnson said definitively that Clippard is going nowhere before the deadline. Clippard is clearly the best reliever on the Nationals, going 1-0 with a 1.66 ERA in 47 games.
“Tyler ain’t going anywhere. I’m going with him,” Johnson said. “I don’t where we would be without Tyler.”
The Nationals recalled right-hander Tyler Clippard from Triple-A Syracuse and designated right-hander Kip Wells for assignment.
Clippard is having the best season of his professional career, going 4-1 with a 0.92 ERA in 24 appearances for Syracuse.
Wells was 0-2 with a 6.49 ERA in 23 relief appearances with the Nationals this season.
I’ll have more later in the day on Nationals.com