Tyler Clippard has done an exceptional job stepping into the closer’s role this season, saving 32 games in 35 chances and providing some stability in the ninth inning after numerous early-season injuries to late-inning relievers.
Drew Storen saved 43 games last season, appears to be completely recovered from elbow surgery and is on a roll right now.
Manager Davey Johnson has faith in both Clippard and Storen when it comes to shutting down games. And that’s why he says he’ll use both guys in the closer’s role for now.
“Depending on the rest situation and depending on the match-ups, either one of them could be going eighth, the other one ninth,” Johnson said.
Storen has been the more successful guy of late; he hasn’t been scored upon in his last 10 outings (eight innings), striking out 11 and walking none. Clippard, meanwhile, has allowed six runs in his last 6 2/3 innings (an 8.10 ERA), with 11 hits in that span.
But both guys have their strengths, which Johnson will play to.
“Clippard’s good against both (left- and right-handed hitters), but his high fastball and changeup is really effective against left-handed hitters,” Johnson said. “Last year, Storen was very effective, he backdoored the slider, his ball (had) great movement. This year, he hasn’t been getting the left-handers out as well as the right-handers.”
Johnson, obviously, is right; Storen has held right-handers to a .140 batting average this season, compared to a .357 average for left-handed hitters. Last season, Storen was better against left-handed hitters (.198 average) than he was against righties (.209).
The rest each guy is working on will also factor in. Storen pitched last night, so Clippard is fresher tonight, making him more likely to get the call in a save situation.
“I think, obviously (Storen is) all the way back. And Clip has been outstanding also this year. So I’m not going to just rearrange the whole bullpen. There still my late-inning guys, and both of them are great closers. So I’ll mix and match.”