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Last season, Tyler Clippard made the NL All-Star team as an eighth-inning stopper.
This season, the Nationals expected more of the same, until Drew Storen was injured in Spring Training and has not played a game in the regular season. Storen is not due back until July at the earliest.
The back end of the Nationals' potent bullpen has been unsettled ever since. Davey Johnson has used Brad Lidge, Henry Rodriguez and Sean Burnett as the closer with mixed results. Lidge is a true closer, but has been injured for the last month, and is due to return shortly.
Rodriguez may have the best stuff in the bullpen, but the experimentation of Rodriguez as a closer has rattled his nerves and shaken his confidence. He is also injured at the moment. Sean Burnett relishes the closer role, but is better used as a seventh- or eighth-inning setup man.
The man for the job is Tyler Clippard. He has once again been dominant this season, and has practically begged for the chance to be the closer, even publicly lobbying Davey Johnson. So far, he has been excellent, saving all nine of his 10 opportunities. This includes saves in all three games of a weekend series at Fenway Park.
The Nationals need to name Tyler Clippard their closer, at least until Drew Storen returns. This will settle their entire bullpen, and will strengthen their most valuable asset as their season turns from summer into fall.