Though the San Diego Padres couldn’t pull out a win, they got an encouraging start from a pitcher who they needed significant improvement from.
San Diego Padres starter Clayton Richard wasted no time settling into a comfortable groove against the Nationals early on Tuesday night.
This was a groove that carried him well into the fifth inning before he stumbled a bit, giving up a double to the forever dangerous Matt Adams, and then a single to Pedro Severino. And yet still, Richard didn’t unravel.
On a night where Richard was possibly the best version of himself on the mound that we’ve seen all season, he, unfortunately, found himself locked in a pitcher’s duel with Jeremey Hellickson who was near perfect.
At least until the 7th inning, when who else but Travis Jankowski would break up that perfection. Despite the fact that the Padres couldn’t get their bats going to support him, Richard still pitched a spectacular eight innings.
He finished his night with a line of three earned runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts and no walks allowed, lowering his previously swollen earned-run average down to a still-bloated 5.72.
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Richard needed an outing like this
It’s a huge step forward for Richard, who in his last start the Giants gave up six earned runs and couldn’t make it past the fourth inning.
Not only was Richard able to get himself through to the eighth tonight, but he did so by inducing some much-needed ground ball outs as well.
This was crucial to keeping his pitch count on the lower side and carrying him through later in the game. This was, by far, his best start of the season.
Hellickson really seemed to be the thorn in Richard’s side all night, not just on the mound but at the plate as well.
In the top of the seventh Richard would surrender an RBI double to Hellickson which tacked on an extra run for the Nats. And yet still, Richard emerged from the dugout to pitch a 1-2-3 top of the eighth inning for the Friars.
It’s encouraging. And yet it seems like when the Padres pitchers are doing their best, the run support just isn’t there. Likewise, when the bats are alive and well, the pitching tends to falter. Hopefully, they’ll be able to find a happy medium in the near future.