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Q&A with Tyler Clippard

Mar 3, 2010, 8:26 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
A starter his whole career, Tyler Clippard posted a 2.69 ERA in relief last season.

VIERA, Fla. — A year ago at this time, Tyler Clippard had visions of making the Nationals' Opening Day rotation and realizing his dream of becoming a big-league starting pitcher. When he learned during the final week of camp he not only was being sent back down to Class AAA Syracuse, but also that he would be converted into a reliever, the right-hander was stunned.

Little did Clippard realize at the time how the new role would re-energize his career. After a strong stint at Syracuse, he was called back up to Washington, where he quickly became one of the bullpen's most-trusted members. By season's end, he had posted a 2.69 ERA in 41 appearances, allowing a scant 36 hits in 60 1/3 innings pitched and taking on a high-profile, set-up role.

Now back in camp as a full-time reliever, Clippard doesn't want to rest on his laurels and just assume a roster spot is his. He sat down for an interview earlier today to discuss the successful transition from starter to reliever, why his style of pitching seems to work out of the bullpen and where his recent hole-in-one at a Viera golf course ranksRead more »

  1. Steve M. - Mar 3, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    MZ: What's a bigger thrill: Pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning, or a hole-in-one?TC: Pitching out of jam, for sure, would be better. Because that's what I do for a living. The hole-in-one is icing on the cake. But I enjoy everything that happens on the baseball field way more than all the other stuff. Mark, good job. I was hoping you were going to ask him that and congrats to Clippard for answering the question perfectly!

  2. Steve M. - Mar 3, 2010 at 9:15 PM

    Middle of the page update on the Chief Cordero in Seattle's pre-season game.

  3. NatsNut - Mar 3, 2010 at 9:25 PM

    I love this guy and his nerdy glasses. I also love the honesty about getting angry at the switch. Not a lot of guys are secure enough to admit it.

  4. RPS - Mar 4, 2010 at 3:33 AM

    Mark,Can't say that I was familiar with your work at the Times, but Gnats coverage is lacking and I'm looking forward to reading you this year.But…please tell me you are aware that ERA and hits per inning have been thoroughly discredited as having any relationship to how well a pitcher pitches.Clippard benefited from a ridiculously low BABIP last year (.201). Once he regresses to the mean, his ERA will rise accordingly. That said, his K/IP numbers were very solid, and if he can get his walks down, he should be useful. Mostly, it makes no sense that the Nationals would allow Lannan or Stammen to start ahead of Clippard.

  5. Sildenafil - Sep 14, 2010 at 10:21 PM

    in my opinion and with all the respect that Tyler Clippard deserves, this guy is really a dreamer, I mean if he would have improved and kept his performance, it would have been another story!





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