Tyler Clippard earned his 30th save on Monday, a particularly remarkable accomplishment considering he entered the year with one career save and spent the first seven weeks this season as the Nationals’ setup man.
The significance of the accomplishment wasn’t lost on Nats manager Davey Johnson.
“That’s a huge amount,” Johnson said. “I know he’s counting ‘em.”
Johnson’s comment came with a sly smile. It was a reference to Clippard’s contract status. With 30 plus saves, the 27-year-old will make big dollars for the first time in his career as he is arbitration eligible. He is making $1.65 million this season.
Clippard gave up a run on Sunday, costing the Nationals their ninth shutout. It ended a streak of nine straight appearances without an earned run.
The right-hander has been spectacular, allowing just 36 hits in 61 1/3 innings with 26 walks and 72 strikeouts. All of his saves have come since May 22. The only pitchers with more over that period are the Yankees Rafael Soriano and the Reds’ Aroldis Chapman, both with 33.
Clippard has three blown saves. Among pitchers with at least 30 saves, only Fernando Rodney of the Tigers has fewer, with two blown saves.
Clippard becomes the third Nats pitcher to reach 30 saves. The others were Chad Cordero in 2005 and 2007 and Drew Storen last year.
“It’s a nice feather on the cap,” Clippard said. “More importantly for me it’s been fun to kinda contribute to a lot of the wins we’ve had this year.”