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Tyler Clippard, winning machine

A few days ago, Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard received a text message from Brett Gardner, a friend from his days with the New York Yankees. Gardner jokingly asked Clippard if had taken over the league lead in wins.

"I think I'm going to text him today and say, 'Yeah, I am,' " Clippard said this afternoon, laughing at the absurdity that he was absolutely right.

Clippard, with both dominance and good fortune, really is the major league leader in wins. Clippard, Roy Halladay and Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez are the only pitchers with six W's. One of those doesn't belong, and Clippard knows it's him. The teasing has come not only from old friends, but also from teammates inside his clubhouse.

"All over the place," Clippard said. "They're like, 'You're going to win 25 games.' Or, 'These starters, they're working too hard. All you need to do is throw one inning and you can win.' It's been funny. A little ribbing every now and then can't hurt."

And Clippard didn't even realize how rare his rise up the leader board was. On Sunday, Clippard became the seventh reliever in the modern era to win six games or more in his team's first 31 games.

"That's crazy," Clippard said. "A lot of things have to happen. It's not going to continue like that, but it's been fun so far. It's been fluky."

At times, like when Clippard struck out seven Mets in three innings during the first week of the season, Clippard has earned every bit of a win. At other times, like both of Clippard's consecutive wins this weekend, he needed some luck. On both Saturday and Sunday, Clippard gave up a lead and the watched as the Nationals' offense retook the lead and Matt Capps closed out a victory.

"It's weird, man," Clippard said. "The last three wins aren't really something I was wanting to have happen. If you look at it in a positive light, we're getting wins. That's all that matters. The stat column doesn't really matter. We're getting wins. It's been fluky. It's good, though.

"Keep plugging away, and hopefully I get some holds instead of wins."

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 10, 2010; 6:54 PM ET
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bear in mind that Clippard is getting wins because he's blowing the holds. I really like him but I'm concerned about the number of inherited runners he's letting score. I think it was 50% the last time I checked.

Posted by: jlegg | May 11, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

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