WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he is not concerned about closer Tyler Clippard, who had allowed nine runs in his last 9 1/3 innings entering Saturday's game against Milwaukee.
On Friday night, Clippard had one of his worst games of the season, allowing three runs in a 4-2 loss to the Brewers. After the game, according to Johnson, Clippard trashed the tunnel near the dugout and then looked at video of himself to see what went wrong.
"He is a very competitive young man. He doesn't like to give up anything," Johnson said. "Everybody was disappointed that we didn't get [Edwin] Jackson his 10th win. Nobody likes to have a rough outing."
Clippard entered the game in the ninth inning and allowed a leadoff bunt single to Norichika Aoki, and Johnson felt Clippard then worried too much about the speedy Aoki, who did not steal a base in the inning but ended up scoring the tying run. It appeared that Clippard was rushing his pitches.
"A guy with tremendous speed is going to [try to] steal the bag, and [Clippard] is worried about him stealing third, so he is rushing. That set the whole inning back," Johnson said.
Johnson sees improvement in Harper's defense
WASHINGTON -- Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper has eight outfield assists, and his 2.32 range factor ranks fifth in the National League. Amazing, considering he started playing the outfield in 2010. He was drafted in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft as a catcher.
Manager Davey Johnson believes Harper is getting better as an outfielder, but there is still some work to be done. Harper still has to get better at throwing to the cutoff man. He has a tendency to try and throw a strike to the base.
"His improvement has come along better," Johnson said. "He is getting closer to hitting the cutoff man. He ain't hitting them yet, but he is getting closer. But all the other aspects have improved since he has been out there. ... I think he is getting more comfortable."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.