May 11, 2010, 4:40 AM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Tyler Walker came through with two big strikeouts in the Nats' 3-2 win.
NEW YORK — If this game, this white-knuckle 3-2 victory over the Mets at windswept Citi Field, didn't prove that Tyler Clippard and Matt Capps are the Nationals' most valuable players … well, you haven't been paying attention.
And if this game didn't also prove that if the Nats are going to have any chance of maintaining a winning record over the long haul … well, you don't understand the importance of a deep bullpen.
"We like to play, too," Brian Bruney said. "It can't just be the 'Clip and Capps Show' every night."
No, but until Bruney and Co. establish they can enter a tight situation and not ramp up Jim Riggleman's blood pressure, the manager has no choice but to ride Clippard and Capps until their arms fall off.
Perhaps, then, tonight's nip-and-tuck win, with Clippard and Capps both sidelined due to overuse, was the first step toward a more-balanced bullpen. Those two MVPs may still be Riggleman's go-to guys. But perhaps he'll actually consider handing the ball to Bruney or Tyler Walker or Miguel Batista in a competitive situation down the road.
Riggleman has no choice. He can't in good conscience burn out his two best relievers in mid-May. Not if this team has any visions of lingering around a pennant race through the summer. The Nats are going to need Clippard and Capps come July and August and September. To ensure they're still available then, they've got toRead more »
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