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.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.