Feb 13, 2016

2015 NL Champion Mets Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (2015)

Tyler Lee Clippard was born February 14th, 1985 in Lexington Kentucky. The six foot three right hander was signed out of high school in New Port Richey Florida by the AL New York team in the 9th round in 2003.

He went through the ranks of the minor leagues rather quickly, arriving in the big leagues by 2007. At the time he was ranked the tenth best prospect in the Eastern League by Baseball America.

On May 20th, 2007 Clippard made his MLB debut against the New York Mets in an interleague game. In that game he gave up one run, a HR to David Wright, with three hits in six innings. In the 6th inning, he singled off Scott Schoeneweis, it was just his third plate appearance since high school. By mid June he was 3-1 with an ERA over six while pitching in just six games. He was sent back down to the minor leagues & then traded to the Washington Nationals at the end of the season.

In 2010 he had his biggest year to date, winning eleven games in relief (11-8) with a 3.07 ERA 23 holds & a career high 112 strike outs in 91 innings. That year he became the first pitcher since Mike Marshall in 1979 to have ten decisions (7-3) in the teams first 40 games. It was the first of five straight seasons (to date) that Clippard appeared in over 70 games.

In 2011 he followed up with an even better year, going 3-0 with 38 holds in 72 appearances, while posting a career best 1.83 ERA with 104 strike outs. That year he made his first All Star team as the sole representative for the Nats. In the game he came on in the 4th inning, relieving Cliff Lee with two on & one out. The only batter he faced was Adrian Beltre who singled to left, but the runner Jose Bautista was thrown out at the plate by Hunter Pence. Soon after the NL scored three runs & Clippard was credited with the NL's victory.

That season got him the closing role for 2012, Clippard saved 32 games (7th in the NL) going 2-6 with a 3.72 ERA in 74 appearances. He also finished 42 games which was tenth best in the NL. That year he got to his first post season with the Nats, appearing in three games striking out five batters in three innings of work, allowing one run on three hits. The Nats lost that series to the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 2013 he went 6-3 with a 2.41 ERA collecting 33 holds. He followed that up with a 7-4 season in 2014 making another All Star game. He helped the Nats to the NL East crown & a post season appearance, posting a 2.18 ERA, striking out 82 batters while walking 23, in 75 appearances (4th in the NL). Since 2010 he had made 350 appearances & had an ERA of 2.60 in that time. Only two other relief pitchers in a five year stretch could be found throughout history with such a low ERA in that many appearances.

Post Season: In the NLDS he appeared in three games while the Nats lost to the San Francisco Giants.

In January of 2015 he was traded to the Oakland Athletics for Yunel Escobar. In Oakland he took over the closer role when the teams main closer Sean Doolittle went down with injury. Clippard saved 17 games going 1-3 with a 2.79 ERA in 37 appearances. 

On July 27th he was traded to the New York Mets for Casey Meisner. He was acquired by the Mets to help tighten up the late innings for the Met bullpen.

As soon as Clippard arrived in New York, reliever Jenrry Mejia tested positive for PED use, he had just been back for seven games before his last suspension. The Clippard trade was certainly a big plus.

On July 28th, Clippard made his Mets debut finishing up a 4-0 Mets win over the San Diego Padres.

Quotes: Clippard talked about being with the Mets in a pennant race against his former Nats:

"They're beatable. There's no perfect team in baseball right now. Everybody can go on skids. Everybody is vulnerable. Obviously, they've battled the injury bug this year. I think they're getting a couple of guys back today. But you never know. It's one of those things -- you've got to play the season out and see what happens. "But everyone was talking before the season that their rotation was one of the best in the game, if not the best. And from what I've seen this year, this rotation here in New York compares -- if it's not better -- than what they've got over there. There's something to be said for that."

Clippard made an immediate positive impact in the Mets bullpen as set up man to Jeurys Familia. He debuted with the Mets on July 28th finishing up a 4-0 Noah Syndergaard win over the San Diego Padres at Citi Field. The next day Clippard was credited with his first Mets hold. 

On August 2nd, he stepped in to give Jeurys Familia a much needed break & he collected his first Mets save. He would earn another on August 26th against the Phillies at Philadelphia.   

On August 7th, he served up a solo HR to the Rays Evan Longria in Tampa. This tied up the game at two, but Michael Conforto & Wilmer Flores RBI hits in the 9th earned Clippard his first Mets win. On August 30th he relieved Hansel Robles in the 7th inning with the game tied up against the Boston Red Sox at Citi Field. Clippard then benefited from a Michael Cuddyer RBI single in the home 7th to earn himself his second Mets win.

On September 12th Clippard allowed a three run HR to the Braves pinch hitter Adonis Garcia, tying up the game. This time Kelly Johnson & Yoenis Cespedes both drove in runs in the top of the 9th to earn Clippard another win, albeit a blown win. On the finaal game of the regular season he earned the 1-0 win Mets win over the Washington Nats after pitching a scorless 8th. Overall he was 4-1 with two saves & eight holds for the Mets in 2015 appearing in 32 games posting a 3.06 ERA. Although he did pitch well there were some troubled spots in certain games & Mets confidence in him was a bit shaky.

Post Season: In the 2015 NLDS he made two appearances against the Los Angeles Dodgers, getting credit with a hold in Game #1 although he did allow a run.

In the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs he made three appearances, getting credit for two holds in Game #2 & Game #3. In Game #4 he served up two Cubs runs on two hits in an inning of work.

World Series: In the World Series he appeared in Game #1, pitching the 8th inning with the Mets clinging to a one run lead. He allowed a double & a walk getting relieved by Jeurys Familia. Familia put out the fire but blew the lead in the 9th. Maybe the extra batter faced did hurt him.

In Game #4 Clippard came into the game in the 8th inning, with the Mets holding a 3-2 lead. Clippard walked two batters & was removed. After that Eric Hosmer reached base on a Daniel Murphy error tying up the game. The Royals went on to a 5-3 win with two of those runs going to Clippard.

Overall in the 2015 Post Season he allowed five earned runs 7 hits & 3 walks in 6.2 innings of work. The Mets let him go to free agency after the World Series. They kept on Addison Reed & added Antonio Bastardo to replace Clippard's spots.

In his nine year career he is 42-29 with 53 saves in 489 games (8 starts). He has 612 strike outs 230 walks in 562 innings.

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