After closer Tyler Clippard worked both ends of the Nationalsâ€™ doubleheader yesterday, Manager Davey Johnson said Clippard would still be available tonight if a save situation arose. Johnson feels Clippard has the stamina to pitch again tonight, though he may be still be smarting from the game-winning home run Matt Kemp hit off him in the nightcap.
â€śWell, his feelings are hurt,â€ť Johnson said. â€śI think he wanted to throw his fastball a little higher up than he threw it. Not after Kemp hit it. It got high enough he hit it.â€ť
If Clippard pitches again tonight, Johnson would plan to give him Friday completely off, with Drew Storen in line to close that night if necessary. Johnson is not a manager prone to demoting players in slumps. He believes Clippard is his best option at closer, and he will stick with him.
But Clippard has gone through a rough patch inÂ the past several weeks. In 30 appearances since the all-star break, he has a 4.85 ERA with three blown saves and two losses. Johnson, though, is unconcerned.
â€śHeâ€™s in a good place,â€ť Johnson said. â€śWhen you close, itâ€™s feast or famine. With the doubleheader, he was good the first game. Heâ€™s been awfully resilient. I could have gone with [Christian] Garcia. He was hot. But weâ€™re in a pennant race. Thatâ€™s what I normally do.â€ť