As most of us witnessed last Friday evening, Clayton Richard exited his last start against the Dodgers with a shoulder injury. Richard’s bum shoulder will keep him on the disabled list, and his current status has forced Bud Black & Co. to find a replacement for him in the team’s starting rotation.
Jamal Collier of MLB.com reported that the Padres have yet to decide on who will take Richard’s place for the time being, but he did list three very logical candidates to assume the role a recent post: Tim Stauffer, Tyson Ross, and Robbie Erlin.
As far as the favorites were concerned, I thought that Bud Black would try to rely on veterans like Stauffer and Ross every fifth day with Richard sidelined.
Overall, Stauffer and Ross have started a combined 94 games at the big league level (Stauffer: 70, Ross: 24), and Tyson began the year as the Friars’ fifth man in the starting rotation. Stauffer has been far and away the most effective of the two over his big league career, and the 31 year-old won nine games and recorded a 3.73 ERA over 31 starts. Ross however has shown some promise this season in long relief, but he did struggle in a full-time starting role with Oakland in 2012 (2-11, 6.50 ERA).
Despite their experience, Black and the Friars have elected to replace Richard with another left-handed hurler. According to the team’s website it will Erlin, not Stauffer or Ross, who will receive the start tomorrow evening.
After Erlin made two relief appearances early in the season for San Diego, the 22 year-old made his first career big league start against Toronto on June 1st. The Friars needed Erlin to eat innings that night, especially after the team played a 17 inning thriller the prior evening/morning. The rookie responded with flying colors in his starting debut, and the left-hander pitched six strong innings and allowed only two runs.
While Erlin’s first career start at the big league level was promising, he has had some issues with consistency at the Triple-A level this year. Granted, Robbie is sporting a 6-2 record at the moment as a member of the Tucson Padres. Yet his ERA is 5.25, and the nine home runs he has allowed through his 12 starts could be causes for concern. Thus, I assumed that the Padres might be better served if they kept him at the Triple-A level for another couple of months, or even the rest of the season, unless more injuries hit the rotation.
Regardless of his consistency in the present, Erlin figures to be a large part of San Diego’s starting staff in the very near future. So I guess it makes sense that the Padres’ brass appear ready to give him multiple chances to become part of the team’s future “right now.”
While I have some reservations about Erlin in San Diego’s rotation right now, Ross and Stauffer should serve valuable roles in long relief if the left-hander is shelled or has issues on the mound.
Erlin is “the guy” though for this Wednesday, and he will have to match Cole Hamels pitch for pitch in the series finale. I am downright intrigued to see how well the rookie does tomorrow night, and I hope that he can pitch as well as he did when he made his first big league start.
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Stats Courtesy of: Baseball-Reference.com
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