Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard share closer role in Washington; JJ Putz to Hot Seat

May 23, 2012

Washington Nationals – Davey Johnson said before Tuesday’s game that he was moving Henry Rodriguez to a “less demanding” role, and that he’d use a closer-by-committee for the 9th inning.  Johnson said he was going to keep Tyler Clippard as his high-leverage set-up guy, but Johnson ended up giving the first save opportunity to the righty, who expressed a strong desire to close before the game.  ”I want it bad,” he said.  With two saves in the past week and a little experience in the role last year, Sean Burnett (0.71 ERA) still has the inside track to get the most opportunities, and Craig Stammen could also in the mix.  But the next save opportunity will be key; if Clippard is the 9th-inning man again, then it’s probable that Johnson has taken his words to heart, and the long-time set-up man could be the new closer going forward.  Hierarchy change: Sean Burnett to Closer, Tyler Clippard to Set-up, Craig Stammen to 2nd in line. 

 |Closer |Set-Up |2nd In Line |2013 Closer |UpdatedWAS |Burnett |Clippard |Stammen |Storen |5/23/12 |Storen(DL) |Lidge (DL) |

Colorado Rockies – Rex Brothers, who closed for a short time last year but has struggled throughout 2012, was sent to the minors on Tuesday.  Matt Belisle (2.86 ERA, 17 Ks/2 BBs) is the most likely candidate for 8th inning work.  Hierarchy change: Matt Belisle to Set-up, Matt Reynolds to 2nd in line.

 |Closer |Set-Up |2nd In Line |2013 Closer |UpdatedCOL |Betancourt |Belisle |Reynolds |Betancourt |5/23/12

Arizona Diamondbacks – JJ Putz blew his third save of the season on Tuesday, raising his ERA to an ugly 7.20.  David Hernandez (2.25 ERA, 29 Ks in 20 IPs) proved to be a solid fill-in closer last year and would get the first chance to close if the D’Backs look elsewhere.  JJ Putz to Hot Seat

 |Closer |Set-Up |2nd In Line |2013 Closer |UpdatedARI |Putz |Hernandez |Shaw |Putz |5/23/12

1. Tyler Clippard/Craig Stammen, Washington Nationals – As noted above, Sean Burnett is the favorite to get the most opportunities in Washington’s closer by committee, but Tyler Clippard or Craig Stammen could snag a save on any night.
2. Edward Mujica/Steve Cishek, Miami Marlins – Heath Bell has pitched three days in a row, and in four of the last five.
3. David Hernandez, Arizona Diamondbacks – JJ Putz blew a save in a 26-pitch outing on Tuesday.  While he won’t lose the job yet, he could get the day off today.
4. Sergio Romo/Javier Lopez, San Francisco Giants – Over the past two days, Santiago Casilla has thrown 3 innings and 43 pitches and could get the night off.

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