It turns out, Balsley and Richard had the same thought in mind.
"He wanted to work on getting the ball down, sinkers down, hitting a low target," Balsley said. "Since then, he's been very focused on that. It's been his priority."
In his seven starts since that epiphany of sorts, Richard is 4-3 with a 2.68 ERA. And that includes one bad start against the Reds when he allowed six earned runs on July 7.
Richard, who had 14 ground-ball outs in a loss to the Dodgers on Friday, has a ground-ball rate of 54.4 percent, according to FanGraphs. That's up considerably from the 46.1 ground-ball rate he had in 2010, when he won 14 games.
"I think Clayton has realized what kind of pitcher he is," Balsley said. "Before he was a young kid with good velocity and movement who used both sides of the plate and worked quickly. I think he's realized he's a pitcher with great movement down, more of a ground-ball pitcher who can also jam you inside and climb the ladder.
"Those are the type of outs he wants to get now."