Clayton Richard certainly appreciates where he has come from. He has made it way back to San Diego after making it back with the Cubs last season and worked his way into the rotation. That was rewarded last week.
This past weekend Richard threw 7 innings and allowed no runs as the Padres beat the Marlins 1-0. He has gotten gradually better since entering the rotation several weeks ago.
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Padres Manager Andy Green was impressed with Richard who is starting to round into form and could work his way into a rotation spot for 2017. Green talked about Richard’s step by step improvement since making his first start for the Padres. “Command maybe the first time wavered a little bit. … After that, he really locked in. The command’s there, the sink’s there, the location’s there. He’s just making pitches on a consistent basis.”
The Padres seem like a great place for Richard, who can give him a chance to get work in without being in a pennant race like the Cubs are as they chase their first World Series since 1908. Richard is appreciating the chance to start: “It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten consistent work. It’s nice to be able to work out of some stuff and not be in and out. Being able to make adjustments, staying in the game and then getting things going my way has made a big difference.”
It would be wrong to count these finals 40 something games as “lost games”. As the players evaluate their future, they get the chance to evaluate players like Richard, Luis Perdomo, and rookies Ryan Schimpf and Travis Jankowski as they get everyday playing time and improve before our very eyes.
Richard brings a veteran presence to the team as well that has been missing in the rotation since the departure of Andrew Cashner and James Shields. Said Green: “He is that high-quality individual everyone kind of gravitates towards. And the way he’s pitching right now, I know he’s pitching because he wants a shot in the rotation next year, and he’s making his case for it.”
He still probably has 5-6 starts this season to show that he can be a quality starting pitchers for the Padres once again in 2017. The same kind of pitcher the Padres were hoping for when they acquired him for Jake Peavy – just a little later than planned.