MLB's new wins leader: Tyler Clippard


clippard.jpgThe season is one-fifth over, yet a reliever leads the majors in victories. More than that, it’s a Nationals reliever. Tyler Clippard improved to 7-1 after pitching a perfect eighth in a tie game against the Mets on Wednesday. The Nationals scored twice in the top of the ninth and won 6-4, giving Clippard the decision.
Clippard’s win today was change from his most recent three, all of which came after he blew leads. However, that’s pretty deceiving, since he was charged with just one run in those three games. Inherited runners have come around to score off him, but he’s justified a lofty record by amassing a 1.80 ERA in 25 innings this season. Three of the five runs he’s allowed came in his lone loss Tuesday night against the Mets.
Clippard currently leads the majors with his 25 innings in relief and he’s second to Carlos Marmol among relievers with 30 strikeouts. It remains to be seen how he’ll hold up while being ridden like this, but he’s been a key component in the Nationals’ surprising start.

Justin Turner suffers broken wrist after being hit by a pitch

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Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner left Monday’s Cactus League game against the Athletics after he was hit by a pitch. He went for X-rays, revealing that he suffered a broken wrist, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Shaikin adds that Turner is unlikely to return before May, noting that Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman missed six weeks with a similar injury last year and Astros outfielder George Springer missed nine weeks in 2015.

Needless to say, this is a huge loss for the Dodgers. Last year, Turner hit .322/.415/.530 with 21 home runs and 71 RBI in 543 plate appearances, helping the Dodgers reach the World Series. He made the All-Star team for the first time in his career and finished eighth in NL MVP balloting.

Thankfully, the Dodgers have some versatile players on the roster. Logan Forsythe could move from second base to third, giving Chase Utley more playing time at second. Enrique Hernandez could man the hot corner as well. Chris Taylor has played some third base, or he could shift to second base in Forsythe’s stead. The club should shed some light on how it plans to move forward following Turner’s injury.