Tyler Clippard thanks the creator of “Clip and Save”

The Nationals are giving away “Clipp and Save” T-shirts tomorrow night to the first 10,000 fans attending their game with the Royals. It’s the most public acknowledgement of a nickname that started right here in MASN’s in-game Nationals chats, where reader SteveRep44 coined the nickname “Clip and Save” for setup man Tyler Clippard and Matt Capps back in April. The Nationals added an extra “p” to it, but we won’t quarrel over the spelling.

Anyway, I mentioned to Clippard where the nickname got started, and told him about its creator: Steve Repsher, a former sports copy editor at the Washington Times who’s now a frequent visitor to our in-game chats. Clippard is a big fan of the nickname and the T-shirt idea, and he asked me to pass along a message. “Tell him thank you,” Clippard said.

So there you go, Steve. Your clever creation has gone mainstream, and you can count Clippard among those who enjoy it.

Capps also said he likes the idea. “They gave me a couple of (the shirts) yesterday, so I got to see them,” Capps said. “It’s kind of neat. It’s a cool feeling, and something neat for your friends and family to see and to have. And for the team to think that much of you, it’s a good feeling.”

The two became the face of the Nationals’ early-season surge, leading a remade bullpen that’s become one of the game’s best after regularly punting away leads in 2009. They haven’t gotten as many late leads to protect lately, but given the opportunity on Monday night, they sealed a one-run game off like they did in April; Clippard lowered his ERA to 1.61 with a one-hit eighth, and Capps countered two hits with three strikeouts, saving his MLB-best 21st game of the season.

“I’m trying to set the tone, and then he comes in there and usually gets it done,” Clippard said. “I think it’s more the whole spectrum of (the bullpen), but we feed off each other, too.”

Said Capps: “After he goes out and pitches, I just try not to embarrass myself.”