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Tyler Clippard is a man in search of a role change. He's been dominant as a setup man, but as the Nationals' closer situation crumbles in front of him, Clippard is becoming frustrated with his lack of opportunity.
"I want it bad. I've been fighting for the opportunity for three years now. I feel like I've been over-stepped a few times along the way for the opportunity to get those saves, for whatever reason. I don't really know."
In order to make himself a better fit for the closer's role, it seems that Clippard has taken a Craig Pelton-like approach and made something of a costume change.
Thankfully, this one hasn't had any of Dean Pelton's signature flair. It's actually given Clippard a more subdued approach on the mound.
Clippard has scrapped his slider and curveball and added a cut fastball to his arsenal, throwing it 14 percent of the time. He still relies mostly on his four-seam fastball and changeup, but the cutter has completely changed his batted ball profile.
Clippard was previously an extreme fly-ball pitcher, but this season, he's induced grounders at a career-best rate of 45.8 percent.
Not coincidentally, that change in batted ball profile has also dropped his home run rate. Clippard has yet to allow a round-tripper in 20 innings this season.
The Nationals bullpen is a mess, but Clippard is the best healthy pitcher in it right now.
Drew Storen may or may not make it back this season, and until he does, Tyler Clippard is the Washington reliever that I'd want to own.