After closer Tyler Clippard worked both ends of the Nationals’ 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.
“Well, his feelings are hurt,” Johnson said. “I 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.”
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 in 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.
“He’s in a good place,” Johnson said. “When you close, it’s feast or famine. With the doubleheader, he was good the first game. He’s been awfully resilient. I could have gone with [Christian] Garcia. He was hot. But we’re in a pennant race. That’s what I normally do.”