At this point, Tyler Clippard seems like a natural fit in the Nationals’ bullpen. His awkward delivery, high fastball and changeup make him one of the toughest relievers in the game to figure out, and he’s become so valuable to the Nationals that whenever they need a strikeout, Clippard is usually the one they call on.
But it wasn’t always that way.
At the beginning of the 2009 season, Clippard was still a struggling starter who couldn’t work efficiently enough to get deep into games. That’s when Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty, then at Triple-A Syracuse with Clippard, went to him with the idea to convert the right-hander into a reliever. The results have been better than probably even McCatty expected; Clippard has a 1.93 ERA this year after blossoming as a setup man and striking out 112 batters last year.
McCatty talked to MASNsports.com yesterday about switching Clippard from starting to relieving, how the reliever felt about it and why it’s worked. Watch the interview in the video below: