BY PETER HAILEY
Even though Tyler Clippard just became a member of the Mets on Monday, he's already adopting a philosophy that his new teammates have had all season long: The Nationals are public enemy No. 1, and they need to be taken down.
Clippard, who pitched for Washington from 2008-2014, was acquired by New York in exchange for a minor leaguer just a few days ahead of the MLB's trade deadline, as the team wanted to bolster its bullpen for the year's stretch run. Currently, the Mets are two games back from the NL East-leading Nats, and have been pursuing them for a few months now.
It sure sounds like Clippard is eager to join the hunt.
"The Mets, here, are right in the mix," Clippard said to ESPN. "And it's going to be a lot of fun chasing down my old teammates there in Washington. There's a lot of incentive there for me on a personal level and on a professional level to get the job done here in New York."
That wasn't the only thing Clippard said about his former employer, though. Not only does he want to catch the Nationals -- he thinks it can be done, too.
"They're beatable," Clippard said. "There's no perfect team in baseball right now. Everybody can go on skids. Everybody is vulnerable... It's one of those things -- you've got to play the season out and see what happens."
The 30-year-old reliever, who is currently sporting a 2.79 ERA, won't have to wait long to face his old club: New York and Washington will square off this weekend in the Big Apple in a three game series that concludes with a Sunday night game. The showdown will give Clippard his first chance to act on what he's said about the Nationals -- and provide an opportunity for Nationals' hitters to respond as well.