I was chatting with Jim Palmer tonight - he'll be working the Nats-Orioles series this weekend on MASN - and he mentioned he'd seen a lot of the Nationals this season on MASN. He got into some specifics when the conversation came to the Washington bullpen.
Palmer said he thought that Tyler Clippard may have a flaw in his repertoire.
"His fastball command is somewhat sporadic recently," the Hall of Fame right-hander said. "And hitters are starting to sit on his off-speed stuff."
Clippard had not yet entered tonight's game in St. Louis, and when he did, Palmer looked rather prophetic. Clippard's fastball was up and out of the strike zone, and the ball that Ryan Ludwick hit out for the game-winner was an 88mph hanging breaking ball.
It's been suggested that perhaps the club has gone to the well a little too often with Clippard this season; and given the number of times he's warmed up and gotten into games, perhaps the arrival of Drew Storen from Syracuse will allow a few more days off for Tyler.
His effectiveness since his return to the majors as a reliever last year has been a major key to the Nats' return to respectability, and he figures to play a significant role as the warmer weather approaches.
Palmer had praise for Nats' closer Matt Capps, saying he looked like a different pitcher than the one who lost back-to-back games to the Orioles at Camden Yards in 2008.