The Washington Nationals acquired relief pitcher Tyler Clippard in 2008, and his career has only improved since then.
Currently, 2014 is shaping up to be Clippard’s best year yet.
His 2011 season was his best until now, as he recorded an impressive 1.83 earned run average through more than 88 innings of pitching. The 2011 performance thrust him into the closing role where he went on to save 32 games in 2012. The saves came at the expense of a 3.72 ERA, however.
Clippard has now found his best stuff in 2014.
He is throwing for a 1.53 ERA with a WHIP of 1.00 through more than 50 innings of pitching. The Nationals need this kind of production now more than ever. They are in a close race for first place in the NL East. On top of that, closing pitcher Rafael Soriano is struggling as of late. The pitcher is posting a 7.71 ERA in his last 13 games.
The rest of bullpen, including Clippard, has made up for the holes in the Nationals’ pitching staff. Clippard is the most reliable relief pitcher as of right now, and the team would like him to carry this production into the playoffs.
A strong 2014 season, coupled with the possibility of key playoff performances, will raise Clippard’s stock in Washington. The pitcher could be looking at an expanded role going into next year. While he is a consistent setup and late reliever, Clippard has proven that he can also save games in the ninth. Look for the Nationals to rely on his pitching going into the final weeks of the season.