Season Preview: The Nationals Bullpen

DC Sports Nexus ---- Thursday, April 5, 2012

This season the Nationals have three guys who have some decent closing experience.  The young starting pitching staff should be able to go deep most nights, and these guys will be available to finish games:

Drew Storen (Closer):  Storen has been the closer in training for the last few years.  In 2011 he ended the season with 43 saves as the Nationals official closer.  He got about 1 K per inning last season, but he starts the season on the 15 day DL with an elbow issue.

Brad Lidge:  Lidge will start the season out as the closer as Storen heals and will move to a 7th inning type guy (I think).  Lidge was known for choking away big games and has been demoted from his closer role on multiple occasions by multiple teams.  We can only wait and see if we signed the dominant Lidge or the not so great Lidge.

Tyler Clippard:  Clippard made the All-Star team last season as an 8th inning set-up man.  This is a fairly new and unique "position" and Clippard has been lights out leading the league last season with 38.  In fact the Nats like him in this position so much they are having him stay in the position despite the injury to Storen.

Henry Rodriguez:  This guy fires the ball to the plate like nobody else at freak speeds often hitting 100 on the radar gun.  H-Rod averaged over 1 strikeout per inning last year and is a young fireball throwing pitcher, which could be good in the middle innings, or possibly if he has to close out a game.

The pitching staff includes only two lefties, which isn't exactly great.  Tom Gorzelanny, a demoted starter, and Sean Burnett who is in the league mainly because he is a lefty.  The other two righties that will start the season in the pen are Craig Stammen, a minor league type that the Nats tried to use as a starter in the past, and Ryan Mattheus, who pitched well in his first season in the majors last year.

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