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June 16, 2006

Tyler Clippard: June 14th
by Fabian

Tyler Clippard pitched on June 14th and once again, the results were awful, but the input leading to that outcome wasn’t as troublesome. Right now, it just seems as if Clippard is having the worst of luck as overall he’s making some good pitches, but whenever he makes a mistake it’s being compounded by his defense as well as playing conditions.

He had the first batter of the game down 0-2 after getting a called strike and then a swing and a miss on a fastball Clippard went back to the fastball. The problem was that this fastball was belt high and hit deep to RF and one-hopped off the wall for a double, which is what should have happened given the pitch. The next batter was put away on a weak fly to shallow left center field off of Clippard’s curveball after being set up by several fastballs. Clippard set up the third batter well with two fastballs for strikes, but he managed to get some wood on a good down and away changeup for an RBI single. At this point, it looked like this start was just going to be a repeat of the last one, but T-Clip buckled down and got a groundball double play after 3 more pitches.

It seemed like recovering in the 1st inning like that gave Clippard some momentum as he was off and rolling utilizing his full fastball, curveball, change-up repertoire to retire the side in order during the 2nd. In the 3rd and 4th inning it was more of the same as Clippard retired the batters in order with one artificial scare. That scare was a deep fly ball for an out to RF during the 3rd, but the ball carried that far due to the wind more so than any good work by the batter or mistake on Clippard’s part. Then came the 5th inning.

In the 5th inning, everything more or less fell apart. Clippard got the first batter down in the count at 0-2 before the batter fouled off some pitches and battled back to 1-2 at which point he hit a line drive over the head of the SS for what would have been a single. The batter then began running for second. With just about any other OF this meant that he was going to be thrown out at 2B. Unfortunately, Shelley Duncan, no offense to him because he’s trying, was out in LF and proceeded to throw the ball offline allowing the hitter to slide into 2nd safely with a double. The following pitch was a good one, a fastball down and away, but the hitter was able to ground it through the left side of the infield for a base hit. The next batter took a fastball down and away, out of the strike zone, before hitting a fastball high off the OF wall for an RBI double. The next batter was down 0-1 after a nice curveball for a strike and then hit a groundball to SS for an easy out…except, J.T. Stotts was at SS and managed to pull Eric Duncan off of the bag with his throw. Clippard blew pumped a series of fastballs by the next hitter for a strikeout. The inning would conclude with Clippard working around a walk for the final 2 outs.

The 6th inning would be a short one for Clippard, as he allowed a standup double off the wall as well as a HR to LF. Both were on mistake pitches, both were definitely helped by the wind as well as Clippard’s pitch execution, and that would close the book on him on this day.

In summation, Clippard threw 81 pitches, 69% of which were strikes. His fastball seemed to better than his last time out, as hitters were consistently late on it. He also did a better job of staying away from rolling curveballs and did a good job with the changeup. Where he messed up was on a couple of fastballs where he missed his spot as well as playing in front of the Trenton defense, hopefully he can correct the one issue out of those that he can control. It seems like as of right now, his changeup is his most consistent pitch; his curveball is his most potentially devastating pitch and his fastball his third pitch though he sets everything up off of the fastball.

I still like him as a prospect; he’s just going through some tough times right now. Hopefully he can right the ship and do so soon so that his end of the year numbers won’t be dragged down too much.