Game 72, Mariners at Padres
Kevin Millwood vs. Clayton Richard
A few weeks ago, I described Clayton Richard as a near-replacement level starter, whose decent ground ball rate helped cover for his poor strikeout rate and gopher ball problem. That night, of course, he shut down the M’s – allowing 1 run in 7 innings and kicking off the Padres sweep of the M’s. He followed it up with 7 2/3 shutout IP at Oakland. Uh, no hard feelings, eh, Clayton?
Despite the recent run of form, he’s still below average in park adjusted FIP (or ERA). He’s always had large platoon splits (for his career, he’s got a 2.90 FIP against lefties and a 4.60 FIP against righties), and right-handed hitters have punished mistakes: 50 of the 56 HRs he’s yielded have been hit by righties. He’s had a great road trip in part because he pitched in two of the most difficult parks for righties to hit HRs in all of baseball, Safeco and Oakland’s WhoeverThisYear’sCorporateSponsorIs Coliseum. Tonight, though, he doesn’t have Safeco to erase any mistakes; he’s got to pitch in San Diego’s PetcAWWWWWW WE’RE BONED.
The line-up does NOT contain Jesus Montero, a big RH bat that would seem well-suited to Richard. Instead, Miguel Olivo gets the nod at catcher after not playing in the Arizona series. If Montero/Jaso are being blamed for the HRs hit in Arizona’s bandbox, that’d be silly. Honestly, Miguel’s well-suited to Richard too, and he hasn’t played in a while. But this is Montero’s third straight day off, and NL-rules be damned, the guy needs ABs.
1: Ichiro (RF)
2: Gutierrez (CF)
3: Seager (3B)
4: Smoak (1B)
5: Wells (LF)
6: Olivo (C)
7: Ackley (2B)
8: Ryan (SS)
In the minors today, interesting RHP Rigoberto Garcia starts for Pulaski in the Appy league; South African control-artist Dylan Unsworth starts in Everett against high-ceiling, er, wildness-artist David Perez; Forrest Snow makes his 2nd start for Jackson in AA, and Brian Sweeney gets the ball for Tacoma as they host Reno and AZ mid-level prospect Charles Brewer.