Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: AdamKilgoreWP and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

How Tyler Walker struck out Jose Reyes

In today's birdcage liner story, I fear I may have overlooked one important moment by one important pitcher. In the seventh inning, Tyler Clippard jogged from the bullpen to the mound. At the moment, based as much on circumstance as performance, he had been little more than a white flag.

Walker had a 5.51 ERA. The Nationals had lost all nine games in which he pitched. Earlier in the day, Walker changed his number from 25 to 39. His wife told him to get something with a three, because it was lucky. "We're going to mix it up," Walker said.

His first batter with the new number was Jose Reyes. One out. Men stood on first and second base. The Nationals led by a run.

If his early season is any indication, the Nationals may come to rely on Walker in such tense moments. Forget the inflated ERA. Walker made opposing batters miss 32.2 percent of the time they swung. He had a .302 BABIP. He had a weak 0.68 fly ball to groundball ratio, but 25 percent of his fly balls were hit to the infield -- and yet 19 percent were hit for home runs. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was 8.50. Add all of that up, and Walker seems like a potentially dominant reliever who ran into a pretty unlucky start to the season.

But Walker had to start proving it. He started Reyes with two straight balls, putting himself in a tough spot. "You can't just lay it in there," Walker said. "You got to keep making pitches." Walker snuck a fastball by for strike one, and he evened the count when Reyes fouled off a splitter, then a slider.

Walker threw a fastball high, above Reyes' head and nearly over Ivan Rodriguez's glove, for ball three. The count had run full. It demanded precision, but Walker figured not too much.

"He's an aggressive hitter, and he's a good fastball hitter," Walker said. "If you have to keep pumping fastballs into Jose Reyes, you're probably going to lose."

He wanted to throw a slider, and that's what Rodriguez put down. "I don't think I've shook Pudge once this year," Walker said. Walker threw a wicked slider that started on the inside part of the plate and broke hard, all the way across the plate to the outside corner. Reyes watched it go by for strike three.

"It was surprising to get that call in that circumstance," Walker said. "Where you miss so far out of the zone and then get a close pitch."

But Walker also knew he had made a good pitch. Reyes fumed, throwing his bat and helmet before home plate ump Laz Diaz ejected him. Walker would have been upset had it not been called a strike. He walked off the mound, a key portion to a great night for the bullpen finished.

"It was an encouraging night," Walker said.


The Nats took second place for themselves and reached a new high-water mark with a 3-2 victory over the Mets.


Syracuse 4, Norfolk 3: Drew Storen retired all five batters he faced, striking out one. Chase Lambin went 2 for 4 with a triple and is hitting .347, best in the entire farm system. Ron Villone earned the win with one scoreless inning.

Altoona 9, Harrisburg 1: Aaron Thompson allowed six runs on eight hits and a walk in four innings. His ERA rose to 5.81. Mike MacDougal allowed three hits and two walks while retirining only one batter. Leonard Davis went 2 for 3.

Winston-Salem 4, Potomac 1: Derek Norris went 0 for 4 in his first game back off the disabled list.

Augusta 3, Hagerstown 2: Daniel Rosenbaum allowed four hits in seven scoreless innings. He struck out eight and walked zero, bringing his strikeout to walk ratio to 36-7. J.P. Ramirez went 2 for 4 with a double.


The Nats' bullpen got it done without the Clip and Capps Show, writes Nats Insider.

The guys at FanGraphs think Tyler Clippard's results are deceptive.

Stan Kasten chatted with

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 11, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Game 32 discussion thread: Nationals at Mets
Next: Ivan Rodriguez still not slowing down


In the third line of the first paragraph, I assume you meant Walker rather than Clippard.

Posted by: ramgut | May 11, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see Walker get some credit for actually being pretty solid this year (despite the ERA)... other then Clippard and Capps, he has been the best reliever on the team...

And, man, if Bruney could just hit the strike zone consistently (unlikely given his career history), he would be pretty tough...

Posted by: Ghost7 | May 11, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Dang... all that work by Riggs to get Clippard the night of and AK has him in the ballgame first thing in the morning.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | May 11, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Ghost, I agree, I've been happy with Walker so far and shudder whenever I hear people calling for him to be sent down. I'm glad to see Adam make the point that I did a couple of days ago, that Walker's been unlucky to this point.

Now if we could just get Bautista off of his Run-A-Day vitamins the Nats bullpen would be even more dangerous.

Posted by: rnkorby | May 11, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

OK, I'm a long-time and fairly intense baseball fan, but no sabermatrician ... what the heck is BABIP? That 4th paragraph is so laden with unconventional statistics that I have no idea what it says ... ;-)

Posted by: chrisduckworth | May 11, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Also I have to imagine winning a game (and a close game, at that) without Clippard or Capps even so much as warming up has to be a nice boost to the team's (and in particular the bullpen's) psyche... the more they diversify in the bullpen, the more meaningful innings they get out of these guys, the better for everyone...

I must say I'm very impressed at how Riggleman has defined the roles of everyone on his roster and made sure pretty much everyone has made meaningful contributions... even in Manny's best year (2007), I never saw him accomplish anything like that... that has to go a long way towards building a sense of "team"... anyway... let's take another one from the Mets and make sure we go into the weekend in 2nd place!

Posted by: Ghost7 | May 11, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

BABIP = batting average on balls in play... it is used as an indicator to see if a pitcher has been unlucky (a high BABIP) or lucky (a low BABIP) and to determine future success...

Not a perfect indicator, and, shoot, I wish I could tell you where the line is drawn between "lucky" and "unlucky" but I can't... but that is what is means...

Posted by: Ghost7 | May 11, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

If we can get any kind of consistent production out of RF and find another couple of arms for the pen, we'll be in the hunt for the playoffs all year. Slaten might be part of the pitching answer. He looked pretty good last night except for the failure to cover first. Hopefully, that won't be repeated, though.

Posted by: rbpalmer | May 11, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

On the postgame show last night, Knight said that Rizzo had told Bruney to shove the slider. (Ed. note: at least, I thought that's what I heard. Maybe he said "shelve." That would make more sense, not to mention being a lot less uncomfortable.) Knight also referred to Daryle Ward as Dwayne. But that's another story. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 11, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

[Walker's] first batter with the new number was Jose Reyes. One out. Men stood on first and second base. The Nationals led by a run.

By Adam Kilgore | May 11, 2010; 8:00 AM ET

There were two outs when Walker came in.

Posted by: kjhealey | May 11, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Jersey #25 worn by Austin Kearns. That doesn't channel good thoughts in Washington.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | May 11, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I watched Phil.-Col. last night after the Nats hoping the Rock's would come through and so we could close the gap, no such luck as Gload hit a pinch hit 3rn dinger(damn!)anyway looking forward to Olsen taking another step,this pitching staff especially the bullpen has grown leaps and bounds and continues to impress, again RF is an issue Bernadina looked bad last night trying to bunt, and is looking even worse at the plate need to fix RF and soon, sad to hear about Griffey Jr. sleeping in the clubhouse during the game talk about your team chemistry!!

Posted by: dargregmag | May 11, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

OK, I'm a long-time and fairly intense baseball fan, but no sabermatrician ... what the heck is BABIP?

The mean BABIP is about .300. Anything above would be considered unlucky, below, lucky. Pitchers tend to regress to the mean, so a very high or low BABIP is seen to be flukey.

Posted by: upperdeck4 | May 11, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Right on, Ghost7. By the way, Manny's Indians are 11-18 .379 winning percentage. If that has a familiar ring to it, it's because that was exactly the Nats' record after 29 games last year.

Plus ca change, Manny, plus c'est la meme chose.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | May 11, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

SK, if you're going to spout French, maybe you should change your name to MarcelProust. Anyway, it's pretty cool that a dead Danish existentialist is so into baseball.

Posted by: justmike | May 11, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Austin Kearns hitting .338 for the tribe with a .521 slug.pct. and 16 rbi, ouch!

Posted by: dargregmag | May 11, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Maybe we should just retire #25; or burn it in effigy . . .

Posted by: lowcountry | May 11, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I might just be nit-picking here, but the slider that he threw Reyes started on the outside corner and broke to the inside corner...

Posted by: paleahy | May 11, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

As a long -time fan who grew up on (and lost) both Senator teams, I am really excited about this year's Nats and the possibilities they have for the future.As all the Atlanta Braves' games are televised to Asheville, NC, where I now live, I was able to see the Nats in that series. Jim Riggleman is doing a terrific job. What a move to get Pudge - a future Hall of Famer - for two years!I wanted Orlando Hudson since he is one of my favorite players (I saw him a full year when he played for the Hagerstown Sund), but Adam Kennedy is OK and will do the job for now. Adrian Gonzales is a major league caliber infieldr, and he's got to fit in somewhere. We have a gem in Ian Desmond, don't we? Of course, being a Terrapin, I want to see Justin Mazwell take over that RF, but that's not happening. So much more I could cite as proof that the Nats are becoming a good team. Go, Nats!

Posted by: sfr123 | May 11, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Burnett should be DFA'd or traded and Storen called up. I looked at Storen's stats his situational hitting is impressive.

Also, looking at his stats Kevin Mench sould get a shot at RF. Mench has 97 AB's 40 total bases and 4 strikouts.

Posted by: hansenjo | May 11, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

SO, to summarize: it was Walker, not Clippard; there were two outs, not one; and the pitch broke outside-to-inside, not the other way around.
OTOH, he seems to have spelled everything right. So there's that. Which is nice.
But it's a good story anyway.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 11, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Kearns was always a good guy but he just took up space on the roster and a lot of loot which really set the RF position into an empty hole.

It would take a great man to take on the #25 via a trade from another team. Who is that #25 that once played for the SF Giants and is available? LOL

Posted by: dmacman88 | May 11, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Can this Chase Lambin guy play RF? They've got him playing second but he is mashing in Syracuse right now:

.347 / .398 / .611
5 HR's; 18 RBI's in 95 AB's

He's also a switch-hitter. Who the heck is this guy?

Posted by: erocks33 | May 11, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Ha! First you'd need approval from the competition committee to allow the use Rascals or Segways in the outfield.


Who is that #25 that once played for the SF Giants and is available? LOL

Posted by: dmacman88 | May 11, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: RicketyCricket | May 11, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Stopping by to eat crow on Walker's performance last night. He pitched great last night.

I don't buy a 5.50 ERA being explained solely on the basis of bad luck. He's made some bad pitches to go along with the bad luck. But I'm looking forward to seeing if he can perform like he did last night on a consistent basis. Last night definitely bought some time with me.

Posted by: Jeff_Jackson | May 11, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Can this Chase Lambin guy play RF? They've got him playing second but he is mashing in Syracuse right now:

Posted by: erocks33 | May 11, 2010 10:48 AM

Seriously, does anyone want to play RF for this team? It seems like open tryouts are being held during actual MLB games.

I don't see anyone down on the farm that has OF potential besides Mike Morse stepping in as Bernadina's counterpart to a the Leftie/Rightie combo.

Posted by: dmacman88 | May 11, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

why wouldn't you buy that, jeff?

he has all of 17 innings, which isn't all that big of a sample.

he has a 1.18 whip, which is very good. he's only walked two guys.

he's given up 32 HRs in his career before this year over 264 innings (.12 HR/IP), but 4 this year over 17 innings (.23 HR/IP), so twice as many per inning pitched.

all of his numbers beside HR suggest a lower ERA, which means he's given up a couple of extra gopher balls this season and that accounts for the extra ERA.

remove two of those two-run HRs and his ERA is suddenly just 3.52. so two bad pitches make up two full points of ERA.

this is why ERA isn't necessarily the best measure of a reliever, especially when taken by itself. one mistake can inflate it horribly.

is he an amazing reliever? no, i don't think so. but he's not as bad as his ERA might lead you to believe. gotta look at the whole picture.

Posted by: sec231 | May 11, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse


Lambin was signed by Rizzo in the off-season as minor-league inventory. IIRC, he spent 2009 in Japan.

Posted by: BinM | May 11, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Mench, Duncan, Lambin all are emergency replacements. Before they go this route you can bet they will give Bernadina and Maxwell every possible chance, as they should.

Once and for all, Storen will not be up until June. It is crazy to lose his rights for a full year in exchange for one month.

Posted by: sjt1455 | May 11, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Why are y'all taking about luck with regard to BABIP? It's kind of a silly statistic because it totally negates the relevance of strikeouts and walks. However, it's not totally without meaning or based on luck. It shows what happens when hitters are able to put the balls in play against a pitcher or a team. It's probably more useful comparing pitchers on the same team, rather than different teams because it doesn't factor in teh quality of the defense.

Posted by: fischy | May 11, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

You're not from around here, are you?

Once and for all ...
Posted by: sjt1455 | May 11, 2010 11:31 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 11, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

fishy, true it's a blunt object, but if you don't try to do too much with it, it's still useful, over a large enough sample. Which is probably a lot more than 30-something games, but still. If it's more accurate than a barrel of monkeys, it's got some use.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 11, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

which is pretty much what you said.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 11, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

sec231, nice reasoned positioning of Walker's ERA.

Sec3, as long as we all agree that a barrel of monkeys has some use also, then I'm in agreement.

Posted by: Sunderland | May 11, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I am opposed to keeping the monkeys in the barrel. I want to put that right field platoon in there instead. But let them out to play D.

Posted by: NatsFly | May 11, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

2nd sentence of the article should read Tyler Walker, not Clippard.

Posted by: shanks1 | May 11, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

How about if we dressed the monkeys in little silver Elvis wigs?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 11, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

oooh, Elvis rally monkeys? niiiice...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 11, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

@sec231: That's my point exactly about luck. You said he made some bad pitches which is what I said also. On two of those bad pitches, the other guys took him deep. Unfortunately, we don't have a stat (that I'm aware of) that tracks percentage of bad pitches hit by opponent. That might measure luck. My point is that it's not just "bad luck". Last night didn't have anything to do with luck, he pitched better.

I agree it's a small sample size. If he pitches better over time, he'll progress to his mean in terms of both ERA and HR/IP. While his WHIP is good, WHIP doesn't win games and home runs are devastating for relief pitchers. The question is, at just shy of 34, is he the same guy he has been in the past over 162 games. Until last night, he looked more Jason Bergmann than Tyler Walker circa 2004, 2005, 2008 (the years he pitched 50+ innings of mid 4 ERA, around 1.4 WHIP). I don't think you can assume he'll get back there, though I hope he does.

I wasn't trying to rely solely on ERA as a measure of success, though I can appreciate how it may have seemed that way looking back at my prior post.

Posted by: Jeff_Jackson | May 11, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

of course, there's nothing to say the 2 pitches were bad. I imagine they probably were, but hitters do sometimes hit good pitches--it happens.
Is that bad luck, or just getting beat?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 11, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

1a, I know nothing about this band, but it may be worth a look:

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 11, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

also, note I didn't listen to that first, so be forewarned

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 11, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

That's an intriguing point. In the interest of full disclosure, I can't seem to recall any of the 4 clearly. Maybe they were all perfect pitches and I'm an idiot. Gotta think if they go yard it's a bad pitch in most cases.

Posted by: Jeff_Jackson | May 11, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

sec3, no worries, as I couldn't make out the lyrics of the bit to which I listened. Back in my day, we had comprehensible lyrics, I tell ya. ;-)(In other news, I've evidently turned into one of my parents. Oh well, it was bound to happen sometime.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 11, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Dang, the Red Sox beat us to it:

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 11, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

From reading this and other boards,many seem to be concerned with our RF situation. I think the situation works out pretty well for our team as it is situated.
Riggleman likes to use his whole bench and keep his full roster involved. This RF circumstance allows to keep our bench players from getting rusty with at least sporadic AB's.Defensively the position has been played better than Dukes played it last year.
I am more concerned with our lack of run production (24th out of 30)and think maybe Gonzalez should get Guzman's at bats.

Posted by: tommy11599 | May 11, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

send taveras down and see if anyone else has anything in their bat, I still think one 0-4 by roger with a heinously ugly bunting at bat is no reason to freak out, the man has had very limited mlb experience but killed it in triple a, he should get some time to work through the rough patches, as I'm sure he will, despite people clamoring for willie, who I love, he is much more valuable as a guy with a bit of pop, who can play good d at 5 spots, and great d in the corner outfield positions coming off the pine, bernie is still batting 20 points higher as a noob in the league, and his ceiling is very high with what is already a plus glove

Posted by: bford1kb | May 11, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company