With the game tied 3-3 entering the top of the ninth inning, Clippard was called upon to hold the game where it was. Unfortunately for him, things went wrong right from the first batter.
Jordan Pacheco launched a double to lead off the inning. That was followed by a sacrifice bunt to move him over to third. A subsequent wild pitch from the oft-accurate Clippard allowed Pacheco to score the go-ahead and eventual winning run.
At 49-34, the Nationals enter the All-Star break with the best record in the National League. By no means are they safe from the competition, however. Anything can happen in the season’s second half, and a few hot streaks or cold streaks could easily change the outcome of the tough NL East.
Clippard is aware of such a scenario, and attempted to take a positive out of the game when he said, “You don’t ever want to get too comfortable.”
While that’s definitely true, Clippard most certainly wishes that he finished his strong first half on a high note. Instead, he finishes it with a loss and heart-wrenching series against the Rockies.
On the season, Clippard has been spectacular. He’s pitched both as a setup man and as the closer for the Nationals, picking up 10 holds and 14 saves this season.
His ERA is awesome at 1.93, and his WHIP of 0.911 shows just how dominant he’s been. His SO/BB ratio of 2.87 is down from last year’s mark of 4.00, but he’s been able to limit the number of hits he’s allowed to compensate for the increased number of free passes he’s issued.
The Nationals and Clippard are in great shape entering the second half, but it’s just a matter of keeping up this great play if they want to stay at the top.