Tyler Clippard has emerged as a leadership figure in an otherwise inexperienced bullpen

Clippard 1 slice

Andrew HartsIndeed, the Mets made several acquisitions to retrofit their roster in late July, highlighted by Yoenis Cespedes who single-handedly transformed their lineup.

But the acquisition of Tyler Clippard has arguably been as critical of an acquisition for the Mets as Cespedes was, as he provided instant credibility to the back-end of the bullpen as a reliable bridge to Jeurys Familia in the ninth inning.

Previously, the Mets were excited to have Jenrry Mejia back from his PED suspension, as he could help solidify and and help create a lockdown formula for the seventh and eighth innings. But seemingly a split second after returning, Mejia was banned again for a second PED violation, this time for a full 162 games.

Fortunately and conveniently, the Mets had secured Clippard in a deal with the A’s that sent prospect Casey Meisner to Oakland, and the Mets moved on from Mejia’s suspension easily and seamlessly.

Tyler Clippard 1 slicePerhaps they envisioned Clippard would join Mejia as part of their bullpen, or they had a hunch something was about to happen again with Mejia which forced their hand on Clippard.

Either way, Clippard began paying immediate dividends for the Mets, as he was a huge part of their 20-8 August record as they pulled away from the Nationals in the National League East race.

Clippard was lights out upon joining the Mets in late July through the early part of September.  He posted a 0.46 ERA in his first 20 appearances, a span of 19 2/3 innings, allowing just 1 ER over that period of time.

At last, the Mets finally had their 1-2 lights out combo that they needed all season.

And Clippard is enjoying the ride with his new team, the fourth of his career.

“It’s been fun,” Clippard told JustMets recently. “To come into a situation where we’re in a pennant race, to have success and win a division, I couldn’t have been happier with it. I’ve gotten to know the guys really well.”

Clippard has stepped up as the veteran in the pen to help aid and educate the younger and less experienced relievers in the bullpen, serving as a leader and a guide to help those less experienced than him.

“A lot of the younger guys have looked to me for advice as far as what to expect in the postseason,” he explained.

Clippard originally made his big league debut against the Mets while with the Yankees in 2007. He never envisioned himself joining the Mets in those years, but he has certainly enjoyed his time with this club since being acquired.

“To be over here in this dugout and do what we’ve done this year, I never would’ve predicted it or guessed it,” he said. “But that’s the beauty of baseball, and I’m really happy to have the Mets uniform on at this point.”

Despite struggling in the latter part of September thanks in part to a mild back strain,  Clippard has provided the Mets with a necessary veteran presence and voice with playoff experience who will not only help grow and cultivate success among his young bullpen mates, but a steady and determined force Terry Collins can count on to get big outs when it matters the most: when a championship is on the line.

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