This was pretty much inevitable given Clippard’s performance since taking over for The Man Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight a/k/a Henry Rodriguez.
Tyler Clippard has been so dominant as the Nationals’ closer that he will continue in that role, if he continues at this pace, even when closer Drew Storen returns from the disabled list, Manager Davey Johnson said after Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Orioles.
“Right now he’s my closer and the way he’s going I can’t see going to somebody else,” Johnson said. “They’d have to show me up here probably in a setup role before they have the opportunity to close.” [...]
Clippard, who has been the Nationals’ best reliever and primary setup man for the past two seasons, has been nearly unhittable since assuming the closer’s role from the ineffective Henry Rodriguez in late May. Since then, Clippard is a perfect 12 for 12 in save opportunities, has allowed no runs and only one hit, and struck out 16 batters. In fact, according to Clippard, it’s the best stretch he has ever had as a reliever in his career.
“I feel really good having the confidence of Davey and my teammates,” he said. “It goes a long way. When you’re out there grinding, you know that he’s got your back.”
It does give rise, however, to some interesting and awkward questions about who will be playing what roles in the bullpen come July. Does Storen become the 8th inning setup man or does he have to earn it given Sean Burnett’s equally as impressive performance as Clippard’s wingman in that position?
Oh well, I suppose you can never have too much reliable relief pitching on a team that scores an average of 2 runs a game.