For the second season in a row, Tyler Clippard benefited from a midseason trade to New York, though this time he landed with the Yankees and not their crosstown rivals. The 31-year-old lowered his ERA nearly two full runs after being shipped away from Arizona and posted a strong 10.3 K/9 between the two stops. Walks and home runs both remained an issue though, as Clippard gave up double-digit homers for just the second time in his career -- a problem he may continue to deal with pitching in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. Despite those issues, the second half of the season should provide plenty of encouragement after a first half that saw Clippard post what would have been the worst ERA and WHIP of his career since moving to the bullpen. He will help set up in front of Dellin Betances and closer Aroldis Chapman in 2017.
Clippard struck out three and collected his first save of the season despite allowing two hits (including a home run) and a walk during the ninth inning of Saturday's win over St. Louis. Since Clippard lost on April 7, he threw three scoreless innings over four appearances and recorded three holds and three strikeouts leading into Saturday's outing. Clippard is clearly a key cog in the New York bullpen, and his usage in high-leverage situations can help him pile up a few wins and saves to go along with his serviceable ratios and strikeouts. He's worth considering in deeper leagues.
Clippard was saddled with the loss Friday after allowing two runs (one earned) while pitching one inning in a 6-5 defeat to the Orioles. With a one-run lead entering the seventh inning, manager Joe Girardi turned to Clippard, who will likely occupy a similar role for much of the year setting up Dellin Betances in the eighth and Aroldis Chapman in the ninth when the Yankees need to protect a lead. It wasn't all on him, as an error and sacrifice put a runner on third quickly, but the 32-year-old suffered the decisive blow after yielding a two-run homer to Seth Smith, leaving Clippard responsible for a blown save and taking the loss.
Clippard has two appearances in spring training so far, striking out three in a pair of scoreless innings. Clippard had a resurgent second half last year following a deadline deal that sent him from Arizona back to the Yankees, and he's looked sharp thus far in the spring. His fantasy value took a hit though following New York's offseason acquisition of closer Aroldis Chapman, which combined with the presence of setup man Dellin Betances, will likely push Clippard to the seventh inning and further down in the pecking order for saves.
Clippard struck out two in a perfect inning in Tuesday's loss to the Blue Jays. Clippard was credited with the hold, but the Yankees would go on to concede eight runs in the eighth inning to drop the contest. The 31-year-old has worked to an impressive 1.13 ERA and 9:2 K:BB in eighth innings since being traded to the Yankees, and appears to have settled into a seventh inning role behind Adam Warren and Dellin Betances in the back-end of the New York bullpen.
Clippard was called upon to protect a four-run lead in the ninth inning Sunday and promptly gave up three runs on two walks and a Jay Bruce homer before striking out the side to preserve a 9-8 win over the Reds. He also walked a third batter after the home run. Clippard hadn't gotten any work since last Sunday, an outing in which he was also tagged for three runs, so his first week as the Diamondbacks' closer hasn't exactly gone according to plan. If he doesn't start stringing together some clean innings, manager Chip Hale may turn to Daniel Hudson or another reliever to handle ninth-inning duties instead.
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