Garrett Richards went seven innings in the series finale against the A’s, giving the Padres the win and a much-needed pitching effort.
Garrett Richards‘ previous three outings were a foreshadowing of what was to come on Sunday. If you recall, the 32-year-old Padres hurler went a combined 3.0 innings in two very rough outings, followed by an impressive 3.2 innings in which he was prematurely pulled.
The move was questioned at the time, but Jayce Tingler proved that he knows what he’s doing, allowing Richards to build his confidence back up. He tossed seven beautiful innings in Sunday’s 5-3 series finale. The Padres took two-of-three from a very good Oakland team who was 13-4 in their own building entering this three-game set.
Richards fanned nine while allowing seven hits, one home run, and no walks. His defense didn’t help him out in the first inning as Oakland’s Tommy La Stella hit a flare into left field that Jurickson Profar misplayed, and La Stella took second base on the play. Following that, Matt Olson singled into right field to plate La Stella, immediately putting the A’s up 1-0.
In the bottom half of the second inning, Richards got himself into a jam with runners on the corners with just one out. He spiked a curveball, which got away from catcher Jason Castro, but Richards made a heads-up play tagging Robbie Grossman at home plate-although the replay sure looked like he was safe.
The Padres got key RBI’s on a Hosmer single, a Machado sac fly, Cronenworth double, and Fernando Tatis Jr.‘s league-leading 15th home run of the year. Trevor Rosenthal also locked down his first save with the Padres, and that acquisition, especially for what they gave up, is looking huge right now.
Mitch Moreland had a tough day in the field, misplaying a chopper off the bat of Olson that ultimately got a run in. He also went 0-for-4 at the plate with a strikeout.
Looking closer at Richards’ pitch usage, he generated nine swing-and-misses on his slider. He needed an efficient 83 pitches to get through the day, with 73 percent of his pitches coming in the form of his slider and four-seam fastball.
Again, he didn’t walk anyone, but consistency will be key from Richards going forward. If you recall, he tossed seven innings in Arizona before going through the recent rough stretch. Up next, the Padres will return home for a critical 10-game homestand, kicking it off with the Rockies.
However, a huge three-game series with the Dodgers looms at the back end.