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Tyler Clippard has not been getting the job done for the Yankees

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The Yankees are in first place in the AL East with a two-game lead over the Red Sox. That’s good. That lead would be a couple of games bigger, though, if it wasn’t for the fact that they’ve lost a handful of games in the late innings recently. A big reason for that? Their setup man is not getting the job done.

Here’s Tyler Clippard‘s last five outings:

  • Last night: Clippard came into a tie game in the eighth, allowed two runners to reach, one of whom scored the go-ahead run for Oakland. The A’s went on to win in extra innings.
  • Tuesday: Clippard came into the game with a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth and gave up the tying home run, the Angels went on to win in extra innings.
  • Monday: Clippard came into the game in which the Yankees led 3-2 in the seventh with two men on. He immediately gave up an RBI double, allowing the Angels to tie it up. He vultured the win after the Yankees scored two runs in the top of the eighth.
  • Last Friday: Clippard came in with a four-run lead in the eighth. He held it. The Yankees won.
  • A week ago Sunday: Clippard came in to a 2-2 game in the eighth, immediately gave up a homer to Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays won 3-2.

Summary: he’s come into the game with the Yankees either tied or in the lead five straight times. He’s blown the lead twice, once lucking into a win, once with the Yankees losing. He’s given up the go ahead run in ties twice, with the Yankees losing both games. Once he had an easy job, protecting a big cushion. Overall, he’s tossed four and a third innings, giving up four hits, two walks and three earned runs and he’s allowed an inherited runner to score.

I suspect it’s gonna be a close race in the AL East all year. If you’re in a close race you have to win close games. If your setup man is doing what Clippard’s been doing lately, you’re not gonna win a ton of close games. And, eventually, your manager is going to start going to his closer earlier and earlier, risking burning him out.

Clippard needs to right the ship. Or else the Yankees are going to need to look to someone else to handle the seventh and eighth innings.

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The players association said Wednesday night it was dismayed by the length of the ban.

“While we understand the concerns raised by the league with respect to a bench-clearing incident during this challenging season, we’re disappointed by the decision,” the union said. “It was an unfair result for Joe Kelly given the cases presented.”

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty that was first reported by Barstool Sports.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.