MLB's new wins leader: Tyler Clippard

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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.

Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

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The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.