Read: Tyler Clippard’s transformation from failed starter to dominant reliever
In what has been a turbulent season for the Mets in their bullpen, Sandy Alderson made the necessary move by shoring u their late inning relief corps when he acquired Tyler Clippard from the A’s in exchange for Single-A prospect Casey Meisner in late July.
And Clippard has served as an unsung hero for the Mets. The problem has been getting to him if the starting pitcher can’t pitch seven innings, something which seems to be getting more common for the Mets as the season enters the home stretch.
He’s only allowed one earned run in 20 1/3 innings in 20 relief appearances since joining the Mets, successfully shortening the game for Jeurys Familia, who has been just as dominant in his role as the closer during the Mets march towards October.
But it wasn’t always this way for Clippard, who is a converted reliever after struggling as a starting pitcher in his first two big league seasons with the Yankees and Nationals.
“Moving into the bullpen at the beginning of that season was kind of a shock to me because I still felt like I could start,” Clippard told Double G Sports’ Steve Simineri earlier this week. “But at the same time going to the bullpen really helped my style of pitching because I felt like instead of trying to get 27 outs and go deep into games, I could really pitch the way I wanted to from out number one out of the bullpen, and if I had a 25 pitch inning it wasn’t that big of a deal. I was just trying to get outs and I think that mindset really helped me thrive in the bullpen. And it ended up working out pretty good.”
Clippard has made a living as a setup man thanks to his devastating change-up, which is particularly effective against left-handed hitters. He has a 2.57 ERA in 469 career relief appearances with 53 saves and 121 games finished, holding opponents to a .181 average in over 2000 plate appearances in relief.
And for the Mets, he might be the most significant acquisition Sandy Alderson has made if the club makes it to the postseason.
To read more about Clippard and how he built his career out of the bullpen, read Simineri’s story for Double G Sports.