Monday, June 28, 2010

Tyler Clippard's Struggles & Nats Swept by MLB Worst Orioles

Tyler Clippard is still the Nationals wins leader with 8. He's still their strikeouts leader with 56. He's still in the top 10 in the NL in wins. He's 3rd in the NL in holds, an ideal spot for your setup man.

It's hard to be overly critical of a guy who has been as consistent and efficient as Clippard. In the 8 appearances prior to the series with the Orioles, he gave up just 8 hits and 1 run. He also notched 5 holds, a win, and his first career save.

But in Baltimore, Tyler Clippard didn't look like himself. His rising fastball wasn't rising. His vicious change up wasn't changing up. His slider wasn't sliding. In 2 appearances in Oriole Park, Clippard gave up 7 hits, only one shy of what he gave up in the previous 8 games. He also gave up 4 earned runs, quadruple the number that he gave up in the previous 8 appearances.

I bring this up only because it perfectly encapsulates the quality of baseball that Washington is playing in June, where even our best and most consistent players this season continue to struggle.

What didn't help Clippard, or any of the other pitchers this weekend, was the number of errors committed by the Nationals defense. In a 3 game series with Baltimore, the defense committed 5 errors, with 4 of them coming on Friday's remarkably depressing 7-6 loss. The Nats had a 6-0 lead in that game. Just to remind you, in case you've forgotten, they also blew a 5-0 lead on Saturday and a 3-0 lead on Sunday.

The Nationals were swept by the worst team in baseball. A team that, before the Nats came into town, had just gotten its 20th win on the season, just fired its manager, and had one of its stars asking for a trade before publicly apologizing to Satan... er... Peter Angelos.

The Nats seem to be cursed this month, so July can't come soon enough. Maybe that's what it will take to get out of the slump. Or, maybe it's Stephen Strasburg's start tonight against the NL East best Atlanta Braves. Who knows, but for the Nats, it needs to happen.

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