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Clipped wings

Sep 22, 2012, 4:29 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Tyler Clippard gave up three runs in the top of the ninth and took the loss.

Ignore, for a moment, the question of whether Tyler Clippard will get another chance to pitch in a save situation this season. It’s a valid question, and one Davey Johnson will have to answer not with his words but with his actions over the final 12 days of the regular season and into the postseason.

The greater issue, from the Nationals’ perspective, isn’t so much whether Clippard will pitch the ninth inning anymore but whether he can get himself back on track, regardless of what role he holds out of the bullpen.

Any deep run through October by the Nationals is going to require clutch performances by Clippard, whether they come in the seventh inning, the eighth inning, the ninth inning or beyond. That’s a fact well-known throughout the clubhouse, and it’s why several teammates immediately offered words of encouragement to the right-hander Friday night after he blew a ninth-inning lead and handed the Brewers a 4-2 victory.

“I just told him to keep his head up,” said Edwin Jackson, whose eight dominant innings became moot after Clippard’s implosion. “He’s going to be important for us just to stay strong. It’s going to be vital for him to stay strong. I told him he’s going to be a big part of our success.”
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  1. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 22, 2012 at 4:38 AM

    In 2 weeks 7 innings 9 runs. Time to start focusing again.

  2. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 22, 2012 at 4:38 AM

    In 2 weeks 7 innings 9 runs. Time to start focusing again.

  3. NatsLady - Sep 22, 2012 at 4:38 AM

    Clip may say he's ok physically, but I don't believe it. I watched him warm up in the bullpen from sec 303 and I could tell he was not himself. It's his shoulder.

  4. NatsLady - Sep 22, 2012 at 5:56 AM

    Manassas, here's the thing. I was the first to tag Clip with being "too cool for school" earlier in the year when the game seemed almost too easy for him. But those days are long past. It's not "lack of focus." He's in a pennant race, in a 2-1 game and he lost a game two days ago, and was just named "co-closer"? –No, he's PLENTY focused. It's physical. He can't get his arm and shoulder to do what he needs them to do.

  5. rabbit34 - Sep 22, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    No problem. Use Clippard earlier. We have Garcia now. Hopefully Clippard will have a couple of good outings left. Then we can use him as good trade bait.

  6. Laddie Blah Blah - Sep 22, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    "No, he's PLENTY focused. It's physical. He can't get his arm and shoulder to do what he needs them to do."Kimbrel burned out last September, too. I would not have used Clip last night. He seems to need at least 2 days off to recover from his prior outing. He pitched both ends of the DB with the Dodgers and gave up the only XBH that Kemp has had in the entire month of September to lose that game.The A and B set-up and closer option was what was needed, but Davey did not have 2 closers until Storen recovered his form. Only Clip now seems to have used up most of his bullets for this year. This is the kind of problem that winning managers have to solve.

  7. Joe Seamhead - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    It was painful watching that last night. It was even more painful hearing some in the crowd booing him when Davey pulled him.t There's no excuse for booing him,IMHO. Something that little has been said about is the PB and the WP.Both were off of Jesus' mitt, and both were balls that should have been blocked. They certainly didn't help the situation. After watching Suzuki for the last month, or so, Flores looked to be a notch below him last night.We're still in the driver's seat.We need to win a couple of these against the Brewers, and we'll be on our wayGYFNG!!!

  8. Secret wasian man - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Yes clip blew another in ugly fashion. But lets not lose sight of the fact that the hitting is not good lately. Nobody is getting the timely hirt. We are limping into the post season.

  9. natsfan1a - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Agreed re. blocking the balls, and I'm concerned about Clip as well.

  10. MicheleS - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    He has been over used. Time to ease off, let Drew take over. Get Garcia up as the set up man.Go get him today…JoeS.. Sorry I missed you last night. We had a mini Insider party in RF in the 7th Inning.

  11. baseballswami - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Agreed about the hitting. Two runs was not going to cut it. Unproductive outs, swinging for the fences, pitcher on first with no outs and he doesn't move up even one base?

  12. baseballswami - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    And I feel very, very sorry for EJax.

  13. nats - Sep 22, 2012 at 8:08 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. JayB - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Not only does Clip look bad, his head is messed up….he is too predictable with his pitches. Flores is no help either…he is calling just what batters are looking for. Lastly on Clip….his stats are bad too….all that adds up to what I hope Davey can see….he is toast for the year. Trade him over the winter to help replenish the Farm for future years.On Harper….what a throw….amazing but the arm is not the best part of that play…it was the pure hustle and form he showed the 20 yards coming in before he got to the call…..I am sure he had visualized exactly that ball and and his charge, pick up and throw before the pitch….it was just a joy to watch…he is the best playing in the NL….just not by stats yet.

  15. Another_Sam - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Lat night — It's one game. Clippard is a big reason why the club is where it is. A switch in closers is okay. Keep changing things around. Keep the hitters wondering.Having said that — perhaps the hitters have the book on TC for now? Wait for the changeup?

  16. BigCat - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    I think I'm more concerned with the hitting than Clip. Yes, Clip is struggling right now. First thing I'd do is find out how his arm is. His velocity is down. Then set him down for 3 or 4 days. Some of you guys saying to trade him….jeez….come in off the ledge, things aren't that bad. Braves lost also

  17. Another_Sam - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    JayB — right on, regarding Harper. I know I'm oversimplifying, and perhaps being too sentimental. But for me the story of the year is his coming up and and lighting the club and the league on fire. He's rewritten the book on hustle and intensity. It's infectious. This season he's the guy like Zimmerman, Cal, Mannny, and others of seasons past. He's the guy that when he's hitting or on base, one must stop yapping with others in the stands or on the sofa, and focus on him.Regarding other nostalgia posted in recent threads, on post season play. I hope that Duke Ziebart [sp?], Morrie Siegal [sp?] and Shirley Povich [sp?] are watching this season from somewhere. I used to see these three chatting up each other in Farragut Park on Orioles lunchtime appearances at the Orioles store. Lerners: lets's have a Nationals Store at Tyson's, the new downtown.

  18. Secret wasian man - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    The O's, Yanks, brewers, These teams are peeking and winnimg there way into the post season. The Nats seem to just be plodding along, slowly waiting for it to just happen. Very mediocre (or less) all around lately.

  19. Another_Sam - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Secret Wasian — check the standings.

  20. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    "Flores . . . is calling just what batters are looking for." This is the point I made yesterday at the end of a thread after people had moved onto the next post. Clippard has been not only over-used but also over-exposed. Teams are now seeing him for the fourth, fifth and (probably) in some cases sixth (or more) time this year. He needs four days off to refresh his arm, clear his head, work just enough the rest of the season to stay loose, and be ready for the Rangers/White Sox/As who haven't seen him yet this season.

  21. MicheleS - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    SWM.. The good thing is the O's and Yanks will beat each other up in the AL. While I agree the brewers are peaking now, Rememer there is going to be a dog fight for that last WC. That could take a TON out of all those teams. Nothing is going to be easy for any team. I think that is good, you should earn your prize. So far we have earned 91 wins. not too shabby.

  22. sm13 - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Maybe its time for the cortisone fairy to visit Tyler's shoulder? Its been a long season and his arm has been stressed like never before. The good news is that we've seen him go through rough patches in the past and then bounce back. For the next week, Druu gets to show if he can reclaim his job as closer.

  23. natsfan1a - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Agreed with JayB that Harper is a joy to watch.And, yeah, it wasn't the best day for Nats hitters.Also, a NI mini-party? Will there be another one today or tomorrow, because I'll be at the games (leaving in a couple of hours). :-)

  24. hiramhover - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Flores is no help either…he is calling just what batters are looking forThat's not exactly what happened the first 8 innings last night, was it?

  25. natsfan1a - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    On the plus side for Flo, I did like him on the other end of that Harper throw.

  26. Another_Sam - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    I'm at the game today. NatsJack — are you in your usual section? Others — who's in?

  27. Natslifer - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Here's my optimistic big picture: our magic number is down to 7 – not a lock but the odds are getting better every day for the NL East. And now Davey has plenty of time before the end of the season to figure this out. Mark put it correctly – there's two questions here: is Clip the closer and if not, what role does he play. We all know Davey's proven MO is to give people jobs so they know what to expect – now he's got four series to make that happen. I was at the game last night with this total nega-ninnie right behind me (he comes occasionally so I've heard this schtick before). You would've thought someone killed his baby during the 9th and he booed Clippard incredibly loudly as Clip walked off. I wanted to turn around and completely throttle the guy.I'm all in for the "Let's stay off that ledge" camp. Davey will figure this out. And regardless Clip's been a huge part of the success of this team and deserves our support.

  28. Laddie Blah Blah - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    "It was painful watching that last night. It was even more painful hearing some in the crowd booing him when Davey pulled him. There's no excuse for booing him, IMHO."Agree 100%.And for those who are coming down on Flores, who was calling the game that EJax pitched for 8 innings? Huh? Clip is firing blanks. Some guys can just keep going, some guys reach their limit a little sooner. That's why you see different runners entered into the 100 m dash, and a whole different bunch running the marathon.Clip is kind of a middle distance runner trying to complete the marathon, and he's hit the wall.The offense that clobbered the Brewer's staff this summer came up short last night. It seems EJax has taken JZ's place as the guy who pitches his heart out, only to get a ND. He was great last night.

  29. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Reading past the jump to CSN — which I really don't like doing — Johnson's and Clippard's comments confirm what JayB was saying, i.e., Clippard's head is "messed up." Johnson said he was "rushing;" Clippard says he "lost focus." Clearly both his arm and his head need some time off; leave the headaches to Storen and others until middle of next week.

  30. Feel Wood - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    He needs four days off to refresh his arm, clear his head, work just enough the rest of the season to stay looseHe already had eight days off before he pitched in the doubleheader. That didn't seem to help. Any other brilliant ideas?

  31. Feel Wood - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    "It was painful watching that last night. It was even more painful hearing some in the crowd booing him when Davey pulled him. There's no excuse for booing him, IMHO."They weren't booing. They were Druuuuuuuu-ing.

  32. mick - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    I did not know Clip was booed, shame on them. However, I think Clip has issues and it simply may be he is better suited as a set up man.

  33. pk24 - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Class-act comments by EJax. I also noticed that he was the first one to give Clip a pick-me-up pat on the back when Clip got back to the dugout after the melt down.

  34. mick - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Here is the other thing I touched on that I think indicates Clip may have an injury…. He does not throw his deadliest pitch which is the rising fast ball. If he does, it is not reacting as it did months ago.

  35. Another_Sam - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Laddie – yes, Clippard has faded in the strecth before. But still, I don't see how anyone can fault his season's performance. Just IMHO.

  36. Another_Sam - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    And it's not wasted on me that a few clutch hits last night and the conversation would be a lot different this morning. LOL

  37. Steady Eddie - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Uh, FeelWood, Clip was perfectly OK in the first game of the DH. The problem was with bringing him in for the nightcap which clearly got into his head. Also, don't know whether the rising heater has lost it's tail or what, but as peric said, that hasn't been an effective out pitch for most of the season. Problem with Clip as closer is that you don't pull closers soon enough when they're clearly off. Davey had no trouble pulling Stammen after a couple of hits or a walk earlier this year, and he needs to put Clip back as setup guy where he can do the same if necessary without it being perceived as a vote of no confidence in that role. Finally– trade Clip??? Wouldn't want to take stock tips from you JayB if you're so determined to sell at the bottom of the market.

  38. Joe Seamhead - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    I was there, Feel Wood. It was booing, and I also wanted to throttle one particularly loud one. As to "coming down" on Flores, I agree he called a great game, and also made a nice play on the tag on Harper's throw. I'm glad that he's on our team. My main point was that I honestly think Suzuki has been terrific, and secondly, both of the balls that got by Flores in the 9th could have been blocked. Johnson said as much in post game interview when he referred to them both as passed balls.It's just an observation.As to Bryce Harper, this kid has gone from being a very raw outfielder in the beginning of the year, to pretty good, to pretty damn good, to knocking on the door to being elite.I honestly believe that we are seeing the opening season of a not too distant baseball great. Though he didn't get any hits last night, he still hit the ball hard. He's not looking lost at the plate like he was for about 5 weeks after Andy Pettite took him to the woodshed.I tried to read through the game posts when I got home. It was like self- flagellation.Some of those posters are just not quite right.GYFNG!!!

  39. MicheleS - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    I know that NatsJack will be in 233 today.

  40. mick - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Time to watch Phil and Cue-ball head

  41. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Trade Clippard — wouldn't be my idea. He's been too valuable the last three seasons to be sent packing. However, the Nats next spring will have more talented and option-less pitchers than there are spots in the BP. Somebody — probably a couple of somebodies — will be leaving and the point should be to maximize the return in high-quality prospects. They need a (1) AA-AAA pitcher who's ready to be brought up in a mid-season emergency and has long-term potential and/or (2) a LH reliever in case M. Gonzalez doesn't return and/or Burnett craters.

  42. natsfan1a - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Just for the record, I'm not saying to trade anybody. I leave that stuff to the real (and armchair, I guess) GM. :-)

  43. Feel Wood - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    There's a reason Flores was catching last night. Gio is pitching today, day game after a night game, and you want Suzuki in for that.

  44. Another_Sam - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    i'm in 134 today. my modes of ticket acquisition are: 1. relying on the kindess of friends. 2. the independent brokers outside the park. 3. stubhub.

  45. NatsNut - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Last night was a hard one to watch. I felt so bad for Clippard, but agree with NL and others that he doesn't suck and no, players haven't "figured him out." Something is hurt. He might be a little overused, but in years past, he didn't do so great after long rests so I"m not sure what the solution is. The problem with being in the bullpen is that these things seem to spiral so easily. Something hurts, you adjust and may lose some velocity or command, get hit around, then you start to fear rather than attack, which makes you more hittable, and next thing you know, you're Henry Rodriguez. Hopefully they (Davey, Clipp, etc.) can get Clipp's head back in attack mode really quickly. And man, the booing. That broke my heart for both Clippard and the clueless fans who are now showing up. It's just so wrong.

  46. natsfan1a - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    We're in 408. Not sure how early we'll get there, though – maybe just in time for first pitch.

  47. NatsNut - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Oh, and ohmygosh! Did Edwin Jackson really give Clippard a man-hug?!? [heart melts]

  48. natsfan1a - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    I was watching, but I missed that part. I may have nodded off a time or two. Heh.

  49. natsfan1a - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    I'm glad, though, because I thought EJ looked PO'd. :-)

  50. MicheleS - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    NatsNut did you win AU prize pack?

  51. ehay2k - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Clip is tired – I agree with mick about Clip's pitches not having the same life that they used to. He just may be at that point in the season where he has a bit of a dead arm. Or, Natslady may be right that he has am shoulder issue. Or both. In any case, we are getting our closer BACK, not losing one. Storen is the real deal in the ninth, and he looks to be back. Plus, other teams have not seen him all year. That is in his favor. (Am I mistaken, or did he also develop a new pitch?)Anyway, will be at the park today with my son – section 129. May go looking for Natsjack. I'll be wearing my red Livo shirsey. If people have an idea for a meetup location in the park, please post it here.GYFNG!

  52. UnkyD - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Hi, Guys!! SO busy (and stressed) lately, but I've been tryna keep up… Folks boo'd Clip? Really? Gracious….. FWIW (which won't buy anybody a cup of coffee), if I was Davey, I'd give Clip plenty of rest, just get him 3-4 more innings (one at a time), before the playoffs, with the clear understanding that it's rest, not punitive, and that he'll be expected to assume his regular 8/9 inning duties, as opportunities present, on the playoffs. Keep McCatty in his ear, re:pitch selection, and try to find that rising FB… (Somebody mentioned he's not been using it?)… Davey is absolutely the best at getting these guys right… Clip will be a hero, before it over… You'll see…..

  53. natsfan1a - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Heading out soon. In anticipation of game thread, I'll say: Go-go, GIO!! Go-go, NATS BATS!! Go-Go, Bullpen!!!

  54. NatsNut - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Michele, yea that was me. I felt like a sellout because I'm pretty critical of Clint! LOL But they caught me off guard. I was waiting at the top of the stairs for the at-bat to end before going to my seat, like a good little fan, and a guy I didn't recognize walked up and asked if I"m a Nats fan. Duh, of course I am. What was your first clue? The red hat? Nats shirt? Nats necklace? Red shoes? LOL So the guys says "come with me" and starts walking back to the concourse. I'm thinking, "oh goody, they're gonna give me an upgrade or something." We turn the corner and there's Clint, the cameraman and two other dudes blocking us. They turned me around and marched me back down to the seats, and the rest is, you know… It was fun though. I sure can put those Nats bucks to good use.

  55. NatsNut - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Have fun, 1a. =)

  56. natsfan1a - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Dude may have a future in investigative reporting.Duh, of course I am. What was your first clue? The red hat? Nats shirt? Nats necklace? Red shoes?

  57. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    2 Runs is not a lot. However 2 was plenty the way EJAX pitched. Had Clippard pitched lik Storen did the night befor we win.Two not the recommended number but should have been good enough.

  58. Another_Sam - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    UnkyD – Mr. Cynic here. Regarding presumed fragile egos: " . . . with the clear understanding that it's rest, not punitive . . ." These guys are professionals like you and me. My boss rightly doesn't give a damn about my ego, fragile or not. I hope that thinking doesn't enter into the picture here either. Everyone involved — DJ, TC, and so on . . is a professional and knows what the story is. Just my $0.02.

  59. natsfan1a - Sep 22, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Just for the record, I believe it was a one-run game when Clip came in, not two.

  60. natsfan1a - Sep 22, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Anyhoo, I'm off to the game. Later, folks.

  61. peric - Sep 22, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    1. The Stadium is difficult to get to for people who live in Montgomery, Frederick and Howard counties. They should have knocked down RFK and used the site, or built near the site of old Griffith Park.Dealing with the Federal government, federal land, the folks who are worried about toxic waste from that stadium etc? Nope. They did the right thing, the city built it in the right place in an area that sorely needed renewal from its precipitous fall after the MLK riots ruined it.The city just needs to find ways to make it more accessible. And as the new development continues (as MicheleS linked to) that will happen. The city needs to benefit from this team as well. Lord knows they don't get anything from the deadskins in PG County. Of all the places to put a stadium … Cooke definitely wasn't thinking straight at that stage in his life … fortunately that's not the case with Ted Lerner.

  62. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 22, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    If you believe I was saying a 2 run lead I wasnt . I was saying we had 2 runs. That was enough to win that game had Clip pitched as well as EJAX had.

  63. peric - Sep 22, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Something is hurt. He might be a little overused, but in years past, he didn't do so great after long rests so I"m not sure what the solution is. Almost 100 innings two years in a row? As Rigglemans go-to guy when starters got in trouble? And they often did … unlike last night. Uh yeaaahhh!Natlsady apparently finally saw what i've been seeing from the beginning of the season. 'bout time you did there Natslady.

  64. peric - Sep 22, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    No problem. Use Clippard earlier. We have Garcia now. Hopefully Clippard will have a couple of good outings left. Then we can use him as good trade bait.Silly Rabbit prognostication on the MLB is not for kids who think they are rabbits.Clip has been hurt … Garcia is coming off TWO (count 'em) two tommy johns surgeries. You need as many viable relievers as you can. Including Gorzelanny and Stammen. And no Natslady you don't use Stammen and his 89 avg. mph fastball to close. Sorry but that is just asking for trouble. He is perfectly fine right where he is.

  65. UnkyD - Sep 22, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Sam: you watching some other team, because Davey the Hardass doesn't manage this one….

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
Through Friday's games

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