After Tyler Clippard imploded for a third straight game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the reliever is “really in a funk,” and the fed-up fans showered the struggling reliever with boos.
Clippard said he deserved it. He coughed up four runs in the ninth inning to kill any chances the Yankees had in an 8-1 loss to the Rangers.
Granted, Clippard came into the game already down 4-1, with Girardi looking for opportunities to get the 32-year-old back on track. But he just added fuel to the fire in his latest poor outing. The extended slump has the Yankees concerned and had the 40,225 fans at the Stadium booing with every hit he served up.
“They have a right,” Clippard said. “They have a right to boo me. I’m pitching terrible right now. It is what it is. This is a city that demands excellence. I realize that. It is what it is.”
Clippard has allowed multiple baserunners in six of his past seven outings, pitching to a bloated 21.21 ERA over that span. He has given up multiple runs in three straight appearances and watched his ERA more than double from 2.22 to 4.85.
“Yeah, we’ve got to figure it out,” Girardi said. “He’s been so important to us for four months, the last two months last year and the first two months this year — and even half of this month — and he’s really in a funk. We’ve got to get him out of it. We’ll continue to work on it.”
Asked if the repeated batterings are eroding Clippard’s confidence, Girardi insisted they are just making the hurler angry.
“I think he’s more upset than anything else,” Girardi said. “He’s had a lot of success in his career, and I think he’s more upset about it.”
The Bombers can hope he either pitches better angry or discovers something in his next bullpen session to find his lost changeup.
“My changeup hasn’t been there the last couple weeks, and that’s a pitch I rely on a lot,” Clippard said. “Because of that, my fastball command needs to be sharper when my changeup isn’t there, and it hasn’t. We’ll right the ship, but it’s not fun.
“I’ve had some tough times and I’ve had a lot of good times. It can’t get any worse, so hopefully there are some good times to come.”