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Nationals make Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen co-closers

Sep 21, 2012, 7:52 PM EDT

Drew Storen Reuters

Why mess with what’s working? Tyler Clippard is 32-for-35 saving games since taking over as the Nationals’ closer in late May. However, manager Davey Johnson announced Friday that he’d have Clippard and Drew Storen share save opportunities going forward.

“The fact is, I told [pitching coach Steve McCatty] that I have confidence in both of them closing,” Johnson said. “And depending on the rest situation, or depending on what I think is the matchup, either one of them could be going eighth, the other one going ninth.”

Storen saved 43 games for the Nationals last year and was slated to keep the job this season, but he missed the first half because of elbow problems. Since returning on July 19, he has a 2.59 ERA in 24 1/3 innings. He picked up his third save in three opportunities on Thursday.

Clippard, meanwhile, has struggled some of late, giving up runs in four of his last seven appearances. He hasn’t taken any blown saves during that span, but he has lost twice. His season ERA stands at 3.22.

Given than Storen and Clippard are both right-handers and there’s no platoon advantage to be gained by playing matchups, sticking with the status quo would seem to make sense here. Alternatively, if they think Storen is the better bet of the two, just make him the closer. It’s probably better that both pitchers actually know their roles than that they spend the sixth and seventh innings wondering who is going to get the call first.

  1. jrocknstuff - Sep 21, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    I’m far from a Nationals fan, but the last thing I’m going to do is second guess Davey Johnson.

  2. kevinleaptrot - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    Like the post stated, “Clippard has struggled some of late.” I think Davey is easing Storen back into the closers role. After last night when he completely flummoxed the Dodger’s 3 best hitters, I think its a good move. Clippard hasn’t gone Henry Rodriguez on us yet, but why wait.

    • kevinleaptrot - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:14 PM

      And it looks like Storen came back just in time. Massive meltdown by Clippard tonight. Hope he handles it better than H Rod. Nats need to start winning some to reduce that magic number and not rely on the Braves to lose.

      • natstowngreg - Sep 22, 2012 at 9:49 AM

        Agree re: Davey easing Drew Storen back into the #1 reliever role. Was at the game and, when Tyler Clippard came in, I got nervous. This a night after seeing Drew Storen strike out Kemp, A-Gon and Hanley. Storen is throwing his 95-96 gas, his slider is working, he just seems to be back from his injury.

        Davey doesn’t give up on guys quickly (see the failed Henry/Brad Lidge co-closership), but Clippard’s 3 losses and 8.64 ERA in September can’t be ignored. His control has been better lately, but his fastball is getting hit, hard. I have to wonder if Tyler’s heavy workload the past almost 3 seasons has finally caught up with him.

  3. nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    This just in: a blown save for Clippard and heading toward a loss. Hmmm.

  4. muskyhunter2542 - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    Ha ha. wow talk about a blowup.

  5. randygnyc - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    Ouch!!!

  6. willclarkgameface - Sep 22, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    Keep the losses coming Rizzo! Your fans LOVE you!

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