Why Davey Johnson tapped Tyler Clippard for the eighth inning


(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

 

When the Nationals acquired Rafael Soriano, the back end of the bullpen was pushed up an inning, Tyler Clippard to the seventh inning and Drew Storen to the eighth. But before the eighth inning, Manager Davey Johnson called for Clippard instead of Storen. The reason? Clippard’s success against Marlins pinch hitter Greg Dobbs.

Although Dobbs was the fourth batter of the inning, Johnson went with Clippard. Clippard has held Dobbs to a .125 average (1 for 8) in his career, while Storen has allowed Dobbs to hit .600 (3 for 5). It was an example of how Johnson, who relies on matchup numbers to help determine his moves, will mix and match the back end of the bullpen ahead of Soriano.

“I expected to fill in the void right before we get to the ninth, whether it’s sixth, seventh or eighth,” said Clippard, who threw a scoreless inning. “I’ll be ready. That’s pretty much what I’m expecting.”

Clippard, who had perhaps the best spring of any pitcher on staff, is also most successful against left-handed batters than Storen. And although Johnson couldn’t foresee Clippard walking leadoff hitter Donovan Solano and eventually facing lefty Dobbs, Casey Kotchman is also a left-hander. Johnson didn’t tell Clippard to prepare to pitch to face Dobbs, but Clippard had a feeling it would happen.

“It’s just one of those where you as a player have to understand what he’s thinking and think along with him, watch the lineup and who’s coming up,” Clippard said. “He’s got a lot of weapons down there to use. We just got to be ready to go when our names are called. It was either going to be me or Drew in that spot. We both were ready.

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010 and, prior to covering the Nationals, covered high school sports across the region.

sports

nationals-journal

Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Comments
Show Comments
Next Story
Lindsay Applebaum · April 1, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.