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Sunday, June 24, 2012

WaPo: Tyler Clippard to remain Nationals closer even when Drew Storen returns from injury

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.

Depressoteric Posted: June 24, 2012 at 11:50 AM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals, washington

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   1. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: June 25, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4165644)
It's not going to be awkward unless Clippard stinks anytime soon, in which case, Johnson will make the switch. Storen will be in lower leverage situations until he gets comfortable. The same type of quotes went on recently with Wang as the fifth starter, and Detwiler was back in the rotation before any statement to the effect had a chance to be batted about the columns. They let a guy keep his job until they don't, you can ask Lannan.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: June 25, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4165648)
I thought the team had always purposefully kept Clippard out of the closer role because he was their best reliever.
   3. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: June 25, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4165676)
Clippard has been great, but so has Stammen. Really the bullpen outside of Lidge has been wonderful. I'd rather see Storen come back in a role where they can pick and choose his spots, not "oh, he's the closer so he has to pitch the ninth even though he's thrown three days in a row."
   4. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: June 25, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4165712)
Yeah, Clippard is too good to be closer, but he'd be pretty stupid not to want the role where he can make the most money. I think when it becomes obvious Storen is back to where he was, he'll close because those were the "roles" DJ had set for bullpen. There would just have to be some little event to make it a smooth transition.
   5. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 25, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4165747)
OTOh Johnson may just be the last manager around who ever successfully ran a "bullpen by committee"
   6. aleskel Posted: June 25, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4165762)
as a Yankees fan, I am frightened and confused by Tyler Clippard being described as "dominant"
   7. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: June 25, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4165768)
Y'all are forgetting about the pink polka-dotted elephant on the 15-day DL, namely Henry Rodriguez. Subsequently you must hope that Davey Johnson forgets about "loyalty" and all that and only brings in Oh Henry when the run differential in the game is greater than 10 runs, winning or losing.
   8. bobm Posted: June 25, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4165776)
2012 Tyler Clippard Gamelog excerpt, sorted by aLi

It is interesting to note how many of his holds and other 8th inning appearances are of higher leverage than his saves. 9 of 12 saves are of aLi of 1.33 or lower.

                                                     
Rk    Date    Tm Opp Rslt     Inngs     Dec   IP  aLI
1    Apr24   WSN SDP W3-1       7-7    H(5)  1.0 4.01
2    Jun10   WSN BOS W4-3      9-GF    S(8)  1.0 3.60
3    Jun16   WSN NYY L3-5       9-9.         1.0 3.41
4    Apr26   WSN SDP L1-2       7-8 BL(1-2)  1.0 3.39
5     Jun5   WSN NYM W7-6       9-9.         1.0 3.16
6    Apr17   WSN HOU W1-0       8-8    H(3)  1.0 2.88
7    Apr20   WSN MIA W2-0       8-8    H(4)  1.0 2.72
8    Jun20   WSN TBR W3-2      9-GF   S(10)  1.0 2.09
9    May12   WSN CIN W2-1       8-8    H(8)  1.0 2.00
10    May8   WSN PIT L4-5       8-8.         1.0 1.90
11   May18   WSN BAL L1-2       9-9.         1.0 1.89
12    Jun6   WSN NYM W5-3      9-GF    S(5)  1.0 1.89
13    Apr5   WSN CHC W2-1       8-8  W(1-0)  1.0 1.82
14   Apr12   WSN CIN W3-2       8-8    H(2)  1.0 1.80
15   May10   WSN PIT W4-2       8-8    H(7)  1.0 1.80
16   Apr15   WSN CIN L5-8 11-GF(11)  L(1-1)  1.0 1.78
17    May4   WSN PHI W4-3     10-10.         1.0 1.77
18   Apr28   WSN LAD L3-4       8-8.         1.0 1.75
19    May3   WSN ARI W2-1       8-8    H(6)  1.0 1.57
20   May14   WSN SDP W8-5       8-8    H(9)  1.0 1.57
21    Jun9   WSN BOS W4-2      9-GF    S(7)  1.0 1.33
22   Jun12   WSN TOR W4-2      9-GF    S(9)  1.0 1.22
23   Jun23   WSN BAL W3-1      9-GF   S(12)  1.0 1.17
24    Jun2   WSN ATL W2-0      9-GF    S(4)  1.0  .92
25    Jun8   WSN BOS W7-4      9-GF    S(6)  0.2  .90
26   May26   WSN ATL W8-4      9-GF    S(3)  0.2  .87
27   May16   WSN PIT W7-4       8-8.         1.0  .77
28    Apr7   WSN CHC W7-4       8-8    H(1)  1.0  .69
29   Apr10   WSN NYM W6-2       8-8.         1.0  .59
30   May20   WSN BAL W9-3       8-8   H(10)  1.0  .53
31   May25   WSN ATL W7-4      9-GF    S(2)  1.0  .51
32   May22   WSN PHI W5-2      9-GF    S(1)  1.0  .50
33   Jun21   WSN TBR W5-2      9-GF   S(11)  1.0  .40
   9. Nasty Nate Posted: June 25, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4165802)
Yeah, Clippard is too good to be closer.


It's a myth that the setup guy in general gets more important innings than the closer. Last year Storen had a higher % of high leverage innings than Clippard: See here

OTOh Johnson may just be the last manager around who ever successfully ran a "bullpen by committee"


Every single team in baseball uses a bullpen by committee.
   10. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: June 25, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4165841)
The theory last year was that they had the perfect mix with Clippard as set up man and Storen as closer.
By the way, Clippard had a 6.33 ERA with a 1.704 WHIP with the Yankees and never did live up to his nickname..the Yankee Clippard. (According to BR. He was even worse than I remembered there.)
   11. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: June 25, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4165844)
It used to be "Clip and Save".

Now it's "Clip and Store".
   12. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: June 25, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4165852)
Dear Davey, please give some consideration to not automatically putting in Clippard on those (very rare) occasions when we're up by three runs in the ninth. We don't want to risk his arm falling off just so that he can pad his stats with easy saves.
   13. Cowboy Popup Posted: June 25, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4165854)
as a Yankees fan, I am frightened and confused by Tyler Clippard being described as "dominant"

IIRC, the Yanks had Clippard throwing his curve a lot when they wanted him to be a starter and it was a lousy pitch, a perfect complement to his no command high 80s fastball. I don't think he always had the change up he had now, so it is fair to say that the Tyler Clippard who started for the Yankees no longer exists. I wonder if the Nats just taught him how to throw a better change or if just plays way up in the bullpen.

He did have a pretty good Major League debut, but otherwise was just awful.
   14. Danny Posted: June 25, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4165858)
It's a myth that the setup guy in general gets more important innings than the closer.

A popular myth, too. I even saw Rany praising the Royals for using their "5th best reliever" (Broxton) as closer.
   15. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: June 25, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4165886)
[13] Clippard always had a good change. The biggest difference between then and now is a bump in velocity after moving to the bullpen (though Clippard has expressed in interviews it was less due to bullpen move and more due to physical/mechanical maturation) and improved command. I was always a big fan of Clippard's so I'm really happy to see him doing well.
   16. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: June 25, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4165897)
Perhaps it's worthwhile to specify how you define the "best" reliever. Is it the guy who puts the fewest gray hairs on the manager's head? Then Henry Rodriguez is right out.

The guy with the fastest fastball or curviest curve ball? The guy who simply keeps additional runs from scoring regardless of his stuff, K rate, BB rate, runners allowed, etc.?
   17. Depressoteric Posted: June 25, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4165900)
I was always a big fan of Clippard's so I'm really happy to see him doing well.
As have I. As stupid as it is, I really like his "look." He's so unapologetically NERDY, with his late '70s "Dungeons & Dragons fan" mulletlike hair and awkward glasses and beanpole physique. He looks like he just climbed out the basement of the science building proudly wielding an 8-sided die and a meticulously-created character sheet for a half-elven ranger.
   18. Depressoteric Posted: June 25, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4165904)
The guy with the fastest fastball or curviest curve ball? The guy who simply keeps additional runs from scoring regardless of his stuff, K rate, BB rate, runners allowed, etc.?
This is really just my personal bias, but I judge relievers on a purely results-oriented basis: either you get guys out and keep runs off the board or you don't, and if you don't I really don't care how good your 'stuff' is or how many you're capable of striking out. Relievers are the purest of situational players, and I'm therefore far less concerned with their underlying peripherals (except in the sense that it gives me a sense of how likely they are to continue succeeding) than the actual outcome.
   19. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: June 25, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4165905)
He's so unapologetically NERDY, with his late '70s "Dungeons & Dragons fan" mulletlike hair and awkward glasses and beanpole physique. He looks like he just climbed out the basement of the science building proudly wielding an 8-sided die and a meticulously-created character sheet for a half-elven ranger.


Dead on. He has a perfect "autograph request proof" look..nobody would buy him as a big league reliever.

With Henry and Lidge out and gone, respectively, the last couple innings have been much more peaceful for Nationals fans. At least if we could average more than 2.6 runs a game, or whatever it is.

   20. aleskel Posted: June 25, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4165906)
As have I. As stupid as it is, I really like his "look." He's so unapologetically NERDY, with his late '70s "Dungeons & Dragons fan" mulletlike hair and awkward glasses and beanpole physique. He looks like he just climbed out the basement of the science building proudly wielding an 8-sided die and a meticulously-created character sheet for a half-elven ranger.

Plus, during his stint with the Yankees, he had, I swear, the absolute worst acne I've ever seen on a major league ballplayer
   21. Depressoteric Posted: June 25, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4165908)
Plus, during his stint with the Yankees, he had, I swear, the absolute worst acne I've ever seen on a major league ballplayer
ROIDS
   22. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 25, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4165936)
Clippard seems to only wear the glasses on the field, oddly enough. A search for pictures in street clothes shows him looking like a pretty cool guy.
   23. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: June 25, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4166044)
He's so unapologetically NERDY, with his late '70s "Dungeons & Dragons fan" mulletlike hair and awkward glasses and beanpole physique. He looks like he just climbed out the basement of the science building proudly wielding an 8-sided die and a meticulously-created character sheet for a half-elven ranger.


He is my wife's favorite player for exactly this reason. She will tolerate the Nats, but when Clippard comes on she will exclaim, "It's THE NERD!" and sit down and watch.
   24. bobm Posted: June 25, 2012 at 09:10 PM (#4166181)
[9] It's a myth that the setup guy in general gets more important innings than the closer. Last year Storen had a higher % of high leverage innings than Clippard: See here

This is misleading, as it considers leverage across all batters faced rather than the leverage when the pitcher first entered the game. A pitcher who pitches well is going to reduce the leverage of the appearance as his appearance progresses, and vice versa.

Storen and Clippard were both excellent a year ago. Here's a breakdown of their overall percentages of batters faced in various situations described as high, medium and low leverage (via Baseball-Reference.com).

Storen
High leverage: 163 PAs (53.4 percent)
Medium leverage: 73 (24.1 percent)
Low leverage: 67 (22.1 percent)
Games entered with runners on base: 6
Games entered with score tied or +1: 36

Clippard
High leverage: 145 PAs (44.1 percent)
Medium leverage: 113 PAs (34.3 percent)
Low leverage: 71 PAs (21.6 percent)
Games entered with runners on base: 26
Games entered with score tied or +1: 35


Now consider the share of each pitcher's 2011 appearances according to the leverage of the first PA of each appearance:

                                                                                                                          
    2011    G GR GF SVOpp SV BSv SV% SVSit Hold IR IS IS% 1stIP   aLI LevHi LevMd LevLo Ahd Tie Bhd Runr Empt >3o <3o IPmult 0DR
Clippard   72 72  8     7  0   7  0%    45   38 46 10 22%     8 1.537    44    19     9  50  13   9   26   46  27  11     28  15                                                                                                                                      
  Storen   73 73 52    48 43   5 90%    51    3 10  2 20%     9 1.853    41    18    13  53  14   6    6   67   8   6     10  24


In 2011 these two pitchers appeared in almost exactly the same number of relief appearances: 72 for Clippard and 73 for Storen. However, Clippard entered 3 more games with high leverage in the first plate appearance, 1 more game with medium leverage in the first plate appearance and 4 fewer games with low leverage in the first plate appearance.

Storen seemingly had the benefit of entering lots of clean 9th innings. He entered almost 50% more games with no one on base than Clippard did, and had 59 appearances of exactly 1 inning versus 34 for Clippard.
   25. Depressoteric Posted: June 25, 2012 at 09:14 PM (#4166184)
Hey bobm, you may want to edit that post. It has broken the page.
   26. bobm Posted: June 25, 2012 at 09:24 PM (#4166201)
I tried. When I clicked save after editing, nothing happened. :(
   27. bobm Posted: June 25, 2012 at 09:33 PM (#4166210)
Clippard's leverage index in his first PA is far closer to Storen's (1.70 vs 1.81) than across all plate appearances (1.53 vs 1.86).

Number of appearances with at least X plate appearances:

      PA  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 Total PA
Clippard 72 71 67 52 29 22 11  4  1      329 
  Storen 73 72 72 45 28  9  4            303 


Average Leverage for each plate appearance:

      PA    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9  Average LI
Clippard 1.70 1.41 1.23 1.62 1.64 1.67 1.89 1.19 4.29        1.53 
  Storen 1.81 1.65 1.48 2.44 2.50 1.78 2.34                  1.86 
   28. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: June 25, 2012 at 09:44 PM (#4166217)
I was always a big fan of Clippard's so I'm really happy to see him doing well.
Didn't his Mom email you to thank you for the kind words about him when he was in the minors?
   29. The District Attorney Posted: June 25, 2012 at 10:10 PM (#4166234)
Didn't his Mom email you to thank you for the kind words about him when he was in the minors?
NERD!!!!!!!!
   30. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: June 25, 2012 at 10:26 PM (#4166248)
Didn't his Mom email you to thank you for the kind words about him when he was in the minors?

Yeah, she was awesome.
   31. Nasty Nate Posted: June 25, 2012 at 11:35 PM (#4166283)
Thanks Bobm, I see what you mean.
   32. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: June 26, 2012 at 12:31 AM (#4166311)
Yeah, she was awesome.

So...you do MILFs?

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