Sep 22, 2012, 4:29 AM EST
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.”
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2013 schedule (subject to change)...
TUE: 12:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
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