A caller to "Nats Talk Live" yesterday questioned the rule that awards wins to relievers who weren't particularly effective. He was pointing at Tyler Clippard's getting his 6th win of the young season after he allowed the game-tying run - charged to Sean Burnett - to score.
The rules of scoring are fairly specific. There are some instances where you're not required to give the win to the pitcher of record when his team takes the lead, but yesterday's hiccup wasn't so egregious that the win should've gone to Clipp's successor, and I'm guessing Matt Capps would prefer the save anyway.
That Clippard is tied with Roy Halladay for the league lead in wins is likely a temporary situation. I don't think we're witnessing a repeat of Roy Face's 1959 season with the Pirates.
Face, a master of the forkball before it became a splitter, rang up 17 consecutive relief wins in '59 before losing a decision. He finished the year 18-1, with 10 saves (although the save stat wouldn't exist officially for another 10 years). The Pirates finished 4th that year, 78-76, and would go on to win it all the following season. Face pitched through the '69 season - he finished with the inaugural Expos - and recorded a 104-95 W-L mark, with 193 saves and a 3.48 ERA. During his career he was often mentioned in the same breath as Hoyt Wilhelm, but has never really received much support for the Hall of Fame.
Clippard has shown an amazing ability to allow a baserunner and then strike out the next hitter or two. In that sense, he reminds me of another hard-throwing righty reliever of my youth, the late Dick Radatz of the Red Sox. Radatz, Boston's other "monster," was six-six and about 240 pounds. It was said he once threw a baseball through one of those folding walls they use in high school to separate the gym into halves (he was a substitute teacher in the off-season). For four seasons in the early 1960's, Radatz seemed to strike out whoever he need to, and he was throwing more than an inning almost every time out. Radatz, too, finished his career with the '69 Expos.
Skipper Jim Riggleman will have some decisions to make pretty soon about his pitching staff, but Clippard's reached the point he no longer has to worry about being on the bubble.