Surprise All-Star Tyler Clippard Represents Reason Why Washington Nationals Are In First Place

Tyler Clippard Nationals

Jesse Johnson – USA TODAY Sports

A longtime stalwart in the Washington Nationals bullpen, Tyler Clippard was a last-minute addition to Tuesday’s MLB All-Star game.

Nationals SP Jordan Zimmermann was elected to the NL team, but could not play because of a bicep strain. Clippard was sent in his place. He is no stranger to the All-Star game though. In 2011, Clippard recorded a career-best 1.83 ERA and earned the win for the NL at the Midsummer Classic. Despite being a last-minute substitution, his 2014 All-Star appearance was well deserved.

Clippard is a prime example of why the Nationals’ bullpen is the deepest in the major league. The team continue to trade places with the Oakland Athletics for the best team ERA in the majors.

On the year, Clippard has a 2.03 ERA. Through 40 innings pitched, he has 53 strikeouts. Most of Washington’s pitchers arguably deserved an All-Star bid this year, and Clippard represented the team well. He inherited runners on base for his 2014 appearance and rose to the occasion, going 0.2 innings while giving up no runs.

The Nationals are in first place in the NL East after the first half of the season. Pitching has been the team’s foundation thus far, and it must continue to be the case if they intend to win the division. Clippard has the potential to beat his career-best ERA of 1.83, and is on the verge of being considered one of the best relief pitchers in the majors.

A strong second half and deep playoff run will get him the respect both he and the Nationals deserve.

Harry Floyd is a Washington Nationals/MLB writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @floydhe, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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