By: Glenn Brewer

The Underrated Acquisition: Tyler Clippard

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September is usually a chance for Mets fans to catch up on their favorite football teams and draft their fantasy football teams.

Well not so fast Mets fans. As a pleasant surprise, the Mets are 6.5 games ahead of the Nationals for the division lead. With fears of past failures, there are many reasons to believe in this team’s chances. Things are different with this team. Many of the reasons the Mets have been able to survive to the trade deadline, are the reasons to sit back and enjoy the ride. But out of all the positives this year, I want to focus on an under the radar player.

Sandy Alderson has done a phenomenal job supplying this team with depth and offensive needs. It is extremely difficult to zero in on one successful player acquisition when you have Yoenis Cespedes crushing the ball and seemingly covering the entire outfield. But even after the Mets have brought in the likes of Cespedes, Uribe, Johnson and Conforto, it is the addition of Tyler Clippard to the bullpen that falls way under the radar.

The bullpen has taken much heat of late, and rightly so in most instances. However, Tyler Clippard has solidified the eighth inning and successfully bridged the gap to closer, Jeurys Familia. Despite his not so flashy look, Clippard has been extremely important and will be even more important in the coming weeks.

Familia has had an all star caliber year for the Mets, no doubt. This is more the reason to make sure this man is rested and pitching single innings from here on out. In this day in age, it is unheard of to bring the closer in before the ninth inning. Familia made a living off the early entry in the beginning of the season. The roller coaster of relievers this season to get to Familia have been comical at times leading to the multiple inning saves. No one is more obvious than Familia’s buddy, Jenrry Mejia. The inconsistency on and off the field was detrimental to the development of Familia as the closer. Every bullpen pitcher has their streaks of greatness and failure. With the arrival of Tyler Clippard, the eighth is in experienced hands.

The big, bad closer gets all the publicity in today’s game. It is just as important to settle the game and team the innings before the closer enters. Clippard has been nothing short of spectacular since his arrival to Flushing, with a .51 ERA. The type of pitcher that Clippard is compliments Familia very well. Clippard’s changeup has been his go to pitch as usual. Opposing teams are watching for this changeup in the eighth and then seeing a 99 mph sinker in the ninth. The professionalism and experience that Clippard brings is clearly wearing off on Familia.

To be clear, I am not taking anything away from the acquisitions of late. The hitting depth was painfully needed, but the solidifying of the bullpen may be the final piece to this team making the playoffs. At the very least, seeing Terry Collins walk to the mound is not quite as scary.

About Glenn Brewer

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