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After slow start, Clippard riding scoreless streak

WASHINGTON -- Tyler Clippard took the modest route when asked about his recent run of pitching prowess before Saturday's game against the Mets. Smart, let the numbers speak for themselves.

The Nationals right-handed reliever hasn't allowed an earned run since before Tax Day. After surrendering a run on April 11 at Atlanta, he's gone 14 straight appearances -- 11 2/3 innings -- without allowing an earned run. In that span, Clippard has struck out 13 and given up just eight hits.

"I feel like it's kind of more of the same from what I've done in past seasons," Clippard said less than 24 hours after holding the Mets scoreless during his one inning of relief in Washington's 5-2 series opening win. "No better, no worse, just trying to stay the course of who I am."

Clippard (4-2, 1.96 ERA) didn't start out this season dominating, allowing a run in four of his first seven appearances. What's changed?

"Right now, I've been able to have a little better fastball command than I did in April," the seven-year veteran said. "My changeup has been better too. Those are obviously two pitches I throw a lot. When those are good, I'm usually OK."

Benjamin Standig is a contributor to
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