Manager Jim Riggleman decided to go with Tyler Clippard in the seventh inning and then Drew Storen in the eighth of the Nationals 4-2 losing streak ending win over the hot Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park.
Similar to Cristian Guzman leading off and Nyjer Morgan batting second, this change paid dividends for the Nats quickly.
Riggleman said he thought he might use Clippard for two innings, but after the Nats rallied for two runs to take the lead in the bottom of the seventh and the pitching spot came up in the order, he decided to give Drew Storen a chance in the eighth.
Both delivered for the Nats.
“Actually I was thinking that part of the lineup I wanted Clip to face. We might have gone two innings with him. With the rally we had going it put us in a situation where we didn’t score but he was coming up fifth in the next inning, so we had to pinch hit for him.
I had confidence Storen would be fine in the eighth. If we had not had him up fifth (in that inning) then I would have had Clip pitch two and I would have given Storen the night off. It just didn’t work out that way.”
DId it bother Clippard that he was called upon in the seventh inning?
“No, not at all. When my number is called I am happy to get the ball. It doesn’t matter when for me. I am just happy to get out there and get some outs and get us back in the dugout and score some runs in the bottom of the seventh.”
Matt Capps came on in the ninth inning and gave up a couple of hits but sill managed to get three outs and notch his MLB-leading 18th save of the season.
Tyler knows how much that meant to Matt after a couple of tough appearances in Houston.
“It was big. It was big. I think it was not necessarily something he wanted to do as far as giving up those hits. I think it was better for him to get in a situation where there were some runners on. The tying run was on fiurst and he made some great pitches to get out of it. He had done that before and had gotten a couple of bad breaks. It was good to get him out there and do what he does, again.”
Capps gave up two hits but struck out Joey Votto looking and then induced Scott Rolen to pop out behind the plate by WIl Nieves.
Storen was happy to be a part of a good bounce back game for all the Nats hurlers.
“It was a good night for the pitching staff all around. Obviously, Livo through a great game. Clipp and Capper finished it off. A lot of credit goes to the pitchers but at the same time you have to give credit to Wil Nieves) behind the plate. He called a great game. He studied up on the players. We didn’t have much time to look over the scouting report. It is alway good to throw to a someone like that you can trust.”