A starting pitcher is only as good as his bullpen. If the bullpen can’t bring it home in crunch time, then the team will suffer and the quality work of the starter becomes irrelevant. All season long, Washington Nationals‘ reliever Tyler Clippard has been providing quality backup to his starters and no one is giving him any credit.
It’s a crime, really, that a pitcher with a 2.35 ERA and a WHIP of just .86 is getting no credit for the success of the Nationals outside of the clubs core group of media members. He makes an appearance every few days and all he does is work efficiently, effectively and, unfortunately for his national recognition (yes, I know that’s not what it’s all about), quietly.
On the season, Clippard has 33 holds, which ranks him first in the National League and ties him for second in the MLB. Among NL relievers that have pitched at least 60 innings this season, his .86 WHIP ranks at the top of the list. His 34 hits given up are the fewest in the NL among relievers (again, minimum of 60 innings pitched) and yes, that includes Atlanta Braves‘ Craig Kimbrel.
All season long, Clippard has been displaying the sort of excellence out of the bullpen that you would usually see on a playoff ball club. You see, that’s exactly why Clippard hasn’t gotten the proper recognition. Since the Nationals have had a less than stellar year up until now, many of their star players, including Clippard, have gone over looked. Yes, twice this season he has been credited with a blown save, but Atlanta’s Kimbrel has blown four and isn’t he supposed to be the second coming of New York Yankees‘ legend Mariano Rivera?
On Thursday night, Clippard once again flexed his muscles on the mound against the Miami Marlins. In one inning of work, Clippard gave up a hit, but got two strikeouts and a groundout on 21 pitches. He earned his 33rd hold of the season, which, as stated above, ties him for second in the MLB.
The season is nearly over, but it’s never too late to pay respect to a fantastic player. Tyler Clippard has been a solid pitcher out of the bullpen for the Nationals all season long. While they’ve had woes from other relievers, he’s been the steady arm that took him to the All Star game just a few season’s ago.