Talking fatigue with Nationals relievers
When it comes to relief pitching, the Washington Nationals are doing more with less. That is to say, they are relying so heavily on Tyler Clippard and Matt Capps in the latter innings that Manager Jim Riggleman has expressed concern about their use.
"We can't just ride those horses all the time," Riggleman said on Sunday. "Somebody is going to have to pick up those innings when those guys have been up a lot and in a lot."
In eight games dating to April 20, Clippard has pitched at least one inning five times. In that stretch, Capps has pitched four times. For all the innings they have pitched, the good news is the fact that they have started to emerge as a nice 1-2 punch, with Clippard acting as the set-up man and Capps as the closer.
But still, there is some worry about fatiguing them. On Monday, Riggleman made a concerted effort to keep both pitchers in the bullpen in a 10th-inning loss to the Chicago Cubs. Clippard and Capps each pitched an inning in Tuesday's 3-1 win over the Cubs, with Capps earning his ninth save in as many opportunities.
Asked Monday about how he was holding up, Clippard did not seem to mind the use.
"I know for me, I've just been working hard, off the field when I'm not in the games, after the games, with my throwing program to keep myself right, my body right, my mind right," Clippard said. "All that stuff I put on myself on how to be ready physically."
Clippard added that he would let Riggleman and pitching coach Steve McCatty know if he was not able to pitch on a given day. "They're not going to throw me if I don't feel right," Clippard said. "So far I have, and I feel good and I want to help our team win as much as I can."
FROM THE POST
Ian Desmond had a big day at the plate, pitcher Livan Hernandez pitched a gem and the Nationals defeated the Cubs, 3-1, on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.
Dave Sheinin, The Post's esteemed baseball scribe, was at Stephen Strasburg's fourth career start with Class AA Harrisburg. Strasburg was unhittable Tuesday against the Reading Phillies, and it is getting harder to come up with reasons why it is in his best interests to remain at this level.
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Toledo 7, Syracuse 0: Starting pitcher Shairon Martis (0-2) took the loss for Syracuse, allowing 5 runs and 8 hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Harrisburg 7, Reading 6: First baseman Chris Marrero drove in 5 runs, after a 2-for-3 night at the plate.
Potomac 7, Myrtle Beach 6: Third baseman Tim Pahuta went 2 for 4 with 4 RBI.
Hagerstown 5, Delmarva 0: In 7 innings, pitcher Jack McGeary allowed only 2 hits, with 3 strikeouts and 1 walk. Reliever Wanel Vasquez threw finished the game with a pair of no-hit innings.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
If you thought he was finished, washed up at age 35, Livan Hernandez is determined to prove you wrong, writes Nats Insider.
Bill Ladson of MLB.com writes that, in spring training, Hernandez vowed 2010 would be a big year for him. So far? Yes, Hernandez has it correct.
Nats320 writes that the play of Ian Desmond and Hernandez on Tuesday could be described with one word: poise.
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