Richard returns to using effective fastball

Richard returns to using effective fastball

SAN DIEGO -- The numbers Padres manager Bud Black saw in the first inning Wednesday from pitcher Clayton Richard were enough to make him smile.

No, not the three outs Richard got in the first inning against the Dodgers, thanks in part to an inning-ending double play.

What Black liked most was the Richard's use of his fastball and the velocity that he saw from the left-hander.

"I think he was more effective. He's a fastball pitcher," Black said. "There have been a number of his games this year where he moved into his velocity [as the game wore on]. [Wednesday] he had it from the outset."

Black saw fastballs of 92, 93 and 94 mph in the first inning, certainly an uptick from what Richard produced earlier this month when he allowed 19 earned runs in his prior four starts.

Richard said pitching coach Darren Balsley noticed that he wasn't using his fastball as often in Richard's last start in Atlanta. So throwing the fastball, which has a sinking action that induces a lot of ground balls, became the point of emphasis.

The result? Richard allowed one run in six innings in the Padres' 6-1 victory over the Dodgers.

"[Balsley] noticed I wasn't pitching as well with my fastball as I'm capable of," Richard said. "So we made that pitch a point of emphasis. Sometimes I was thinking too far ahead in the count and I just got away from it."