San Diego Padres: Decision to Pull Richard Likely Cost Pads the Game

SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 27: Clayton Richard
SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 27: Clayton Richard /

The San Diego Padres can’t let one tough loss derail their focus. As hard as last night’s pill likely was to swallow for the team and fans alike, there are still positives to take from it.

The San Diego Padres were locked in a tight one with the New York Mets in going into the seventh inning last night. After getting into a little bit of trouble later that inning, Friars’ manager Andy Green popped out of the dugout.

Green made the choice to pull his starter, Clayton Richard, after just 88 pitches in favor of Craig Stammen, who has been virtually lights-out all season. Stammen (2.63 ERA) gave up a first-pitch three-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera that put the Mets up 4-0.

As with all managers, coaches, and even bosses, in all walks of life, sometimes decisions backfire. This was one of those fateful times for Andy Green.

In all honesty, I probably wouldn’t have done it any differently myself. Though, regrettably, I’m a blogger and not an MLB manager.

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Richard matched bullets with deGrom

Clayton Richard was, apart from allowing a first-inning run on a Todd Frazier RBI single, matching zeroes with the Mets’ co-ace, Jacob deGrom until running into trouble in the sixth.

Richard certainly wasn’t touching 95-96 mph on the radar gun like deGrom was, but he was as effective as he’s been all season against an extremely offensively-potent New York ballclub.

After the Cabrera double/Frazier single sequence in the first, Richard induced inning-ending double plays in the first and second innings.

He worked around a base hit and a walk in the third, striking out Frazier to end the threat with two men on base.

He was helped by some sparkling defensive plays from Freddy Galvis at shortstop, including a backhanded glove-toss and a throw from the seat of his pants, both to Carlos Asuaje at second base.

Richard worked a perfect fifth and then struck out Frazier, Wilmer Flores, and Michael Conforto in order after leading off the sixth by walking Yoenis Cespedes. Impressive stuff.

The seventh inning doomed the Padres

Then came the fateful seventh inning for Clayton Richard and the San Diego Padres. Richard allowed a leadoff single to Juan Lagares that wasn’t hit very hard at all. That seemed to be a theme for the night for Richard; getting soft-contact.

Jose Lobaton, who’s been mired in an awful slump since being recalled by the Mets, laced a single to the left side of the infield. After a sacrifice bunt and a groundout, Richard was faced with men second and third with two outs.

We were likely just as surprised as Richard was when he saw Green coming out of the dugout. We know what happened next. We also know that more often than not, these types of decisions have worked out for Andy Green in the past.

We also know that heading into last night’s game, the Padres’ bullpen had the third-best earned run average in the National League (2.62).

Was Clayton Richard cruising along against one of the best offenses in the league? Yup. Was he clearly miffed at being taken out and then watching what unfolded afterward, with good reason? Absolutely.

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But a big part of being a starting pitcher, and a veteran leader as well, is showing nothing but confidence in your relievers to secure a solid outing like the one Richard gave last night. The cookies didn’t crumble that way last night. Onward and upward.