Originally written on The Nats Blog  |  Last updated 4/30/13
Washington-nationals
Tyler Clippard has dealt with some inconsistency early this season with no example more clear than his outing in Atlanta on Monday where he allowed two base runners and gave up the losing run. When his stuff has been on, which it has been quite a bit this season, it's been electric and dominant, but Clippard has always had a tendency to leave pitches up in the zone. He can usually get by on changing speeds effectively with his great changeup, but he's had less success pitching up in the zone early on this year. For some historical context, let's look at the breakdown of the kind of numbers that batters have put up against Clippard in Aprils since 2010: Year PA IP AVG OBP OPS ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9 2013 44 10.1 .147 .302 .538 4.35 1.258 7.8 6.97 2012 48 10.0 .262 .354 .711 5.40 1.700 10.9 5.40 2011 66 17.1 .220 .288 .576 1.56 1.096 9.3 3.12 2010 72 18.0 .123 .254 .447 0.50 0.889 11.5 4.50 He was able to have significant success both in April 2010 and 2011, his All-Star season. He faced a whole lot of batters over a lot of innings, mostly because he was the most reliable bullpen arm in what were a couple of very lean pitching years for the Nats. He managed to keep opponents off base almost three-quarters of the time in April of those seasons, and he generated a whole lot of swings and misses. Last season, he struggled out of the gate really for the first time in his career. Clippard and Davey Johnson put his early woes on shoulder trouble, as Patrick Reddington of Federal Baseball wrote last April. Clippard's numbers fluctuated throughout the season, having great months and not so great ones. If his April 2012 struggles were an anomaly, we could easily put it on those lingering shoulder issues from spring. After all, it was the worst first month for him of any season with the Nationals. In April 2013, Clippard's inconsistency has reappeared. He's not as dominant as he was in early 2010 or 2011, but he's also not as bad as he was for just about all of April 2012. He's not giving up many hits at all, evidenced by his .147 batting average against, but that low average makes an otherwise decent 1.258 WHIP more alarming. Dig a little deeper, and you'll see that Clippard's strikeout numbers have gone down while his walks have gone way up: 7.8 K/9 compared to 6.97 BB/9, making for a disappointing K/BB ratio. It is possible that wear and tear after throwing 262.1 innings in the past three seasons plus a month have just taken a toll on his body in a way that won't let him pitch in the way to which we've be come accustomed. It's also entirely possible that it's the same early season issues he had early in 2012, and he'll rebound to become the same kind of pitcher that helped him save 32 games in 2012. It's too early to know for sure, but that doesn't mean it's not worth looking at past April performances to see if this is consistent with anything he's done before. To me, the biggest concern for Clippard is pitch location, and that issue is two-fold. The first, he consistently leaves pitches up in the zone and giving batters a much better chance to make contact. If his changeup doesn't do an effective job getting the timing for those hitters off, he's going to have trouble. The second, averaging almost seven walks per nine innings early is a small sample size, but it's more than he's given up in any previous April in his career. Once Clippard makes an adjustment to fix one of those two location-related issues, and I think he will, the other one may be resolved by default. He's going to have to make some sort of adjustment and start throwing better pitches, though, or these numbers aren't just going to be an April anomaly.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Arizona Cardinals make Jen Welter first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Junior Seau family says Hall of Fame went back on its word

Kobe will probably see time at power forward next year

Angels acquire Shane Victorino from the Red Sox

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Clemson's Swinney wants Notre Dame in a conference

Mike Pettine not ruling out Manziel as Browns starter

David Price won't rule out Red Sox despite testy past

Bullying victim Jonathan Martin retiring from NFL

Why Jay Gruden may lose job if he can’t fix Robert Griffin III

Report: T.Y. Hilton wants similar contract to Dez Bryant

Nick Saban has incredible advice for his players on chasing girls

Nik Stauskas trolls Thad Matta

Will Smith fires back at former teammate Junior Galette

Sammy Watkins: It's a "problem" if Bills don't win AFC East

The most important quarterback in the game?

Boston Mayor Walsh refusing to sign Olympic host contract

Chris Johnson accused of smashing up Rolls-Royce rental

Astros’ playoff push prompts rescheduling of Taylor Swift

Answering the AFC East's biggest questions in 2015

Bryant in 'financial distress' before signing new deal

College football's top 10 coaches on the hot seat for 2015

Was Gregg Popovich close to retiring last year?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Cardinals hire first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Seau family: HOF broke their word

Kobe to see time at power forward next year

Mike Pettine not ruling out Manziel

Galette appears to unload on Payton

Dez Bryant in 'financial distress' before signing new deal

Top 10 CFB coaches on the hot seat

Was Popovich close to retiring last year?

Kyle Busch continues historic run with Brickyard win

WATCH: Mike Trout HR lands in 'Trout Net'

With Cueto dealt, what's the market for other pitchers?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker