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If it were possible to throw out the top of the second inning in Saturday’s game between the Padres and the Diamondbacks, it might have been an entertaining game. Padres starter Clayton Richard had a meltdown and allowed six runs to cross the plate and the Diamondbacks went on to defeat the Padres, 8-1.

Clayton knew he was bad. “It was ugly,” Richard said about the second inning. “They took advantage of balls that were either up or up out of the plate or wherever it may be, and strung together many hits. They took advantage of that inning.”

Without that inning, it’s a cozier game that’s manageable in terms of being able to manufacture a run or two as the Padres are prone to do in close games. But down six, the idea is to get base runners and simply try to drive runs in.

Arizona’s Patrick Corbin prevented that from happening. The Diamondbacks starter went seven innings and gave up just a solo home run to Chris Denorfia, which landed in the second deck in left field in the seventh inning.

Manager Buddy Black’s analysis of his starting pitcher’s performance was more pointed than was Richard's self-analysis. “I think the inability to consistently throw a strike when he needs to, and to make that one pitch to get himself out of a jam is not happening. I think his stuff’s fine. The velocity, is where it was last year, the movement on his pitches is there. But, again, just the inconsistency from at-bat to at-bat is causing some big innings,” Buddy said after the game.

Richard's general observation about his game in the last few starts was broader in scope. “I’m not throwing well, there’s no getting past that. As a starting pitcher, it hurts to put your bull pen in the situation I’ve done. It’s disappointing,” Clayton said.

In order to try and fix his slide, Clayton was resolute. “I’m definitely going to work hard and do everything in my power to correct what’s going wrong, and be here figuring out what’s going wrong tonight and have a game plan going forward. There’s probably a few things. Clearly, whenever you’re not throwing well, you’re not executing pitches, more often than not you’re not getting ahead. So that’s a good way to start off. If you’re able to correct that, you’re moving in the right direction, so that’s probably where we’ll start,” Richard told reporters in the club house.

Clayton Richard will have to even out his game in order for the Padres to be successful in any way this season. Last year, he was steady, and while not perfect by any stretch, he provided the padres with a solid foundation to build a staff around.

It’s not going that way for him this season. Richard was an even 14-14 last season, but he has a long way to go in order to reach .500 this year. So do the Padres.


Notes:

James Darnell has completed his rehab and has been assigned to AAA Tucson. Otherwise, the injury brigade is quiet with nothing much to report. Carlos Quentin’s balky knee is apparently feeling better as he was in the starting lineup on Saturday. Carlos was 0 for 2 and is now below the Mendoza line, trying to regain the form he had before his suspension.

On Sunday, the series concludes with the Padres Edinson Volquez (2-3, 6.39) facing Ian Kennedy (1-2, 4.78) for the Diamondbacks. Game starts at 1:10 PM PDST, on radio 1090 AM or televised on Fox Sports San Diego. Time Warner Cable customers can come to the game or visit their favorite tavern, as usual. It makes one wonder if the local sports bars are seeing any upsurge in business when the Padres play since TWC implemented their strict no-Padres business plan.

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