Reliever Tyler Clippard received his All-Star Game jersey approximately 10 minutes before the first pitch of the Nationals game against Colorado Sunday afternoon. Clippard was the only Nationals players selected to the All-Star Game, which will be played Tuesday at Chase Field in Phoenix.
The ceremony took place behind home plate by the Washington “W” logo, where General Manager Mike Rizzo held up the jersey with Clippard’s No. 36 for photographers. Clippard stood to Rizzo’s left and eventually took the jersey and posed for photos with Rizzo.
The Nationals set-up man has appeared in 40 games this season, going 1-0 with a 1.79 ERA and 62 strikeouts, the second most in the big leagues among relievers. He has given up 17 walks in 50 1/3 innings. Clippard also leads the majors with 22 holds.
Making his first All-Star appearance, Clippard will head to Arizona in style, courtesy of Rockies two-time All-Star Troy Tulowitzki. The shortstop offered his All-Star teammate a ride to their destination via private jet, and Clippard took him up on it.
“That’s the cool thing about this game,” Clippard told reporters. “When you’re in it for a while, that’s the type of thing you can do for younger guys. Right now, I’m still that young guy, but hopefully at some point I can be on the other side of it.”
Clippard and Tulowitzki will leave after this afternoon’s final game before the All-Star break. Clippard said he was most eagerly anticipating meeting his teammates. Clippard has faced 19 of his NL teammates, limiting them to a .183 average in 71 at-bats with 18 strikeouts.
Against AL All-Star representatives, Clippard has allowed three hits in 17 at-bats. He has faced nine players from the AL team.
Teammate Ivan Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star catcher, has been giving Clippard some insight into what he might expect.
“I’ve always enjoyed meeting the other guys around the league,” Clippard said. “Obviously the All-Star Game brings in another level, a lot of future Hall of Famers, a lot of guys that have hit home runs off of me. It’s going to be cool to meet guys like that.”