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Padres Preview: Clayton Richard vs. Ty Blach & the San Francisco Giants

Padres look to win the series in today’s rubber match

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants
Clayton Richard does not fear orange or seals or patchouli.
Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

If seeing the Padres hang a snowman on the board in one inning against the Giants doesn’t get you excited, well I don’t know why you’re reading these words. Every hitter in the lineup contributed to yesterday’s 12-4 shellacking, capped off by home runs from Wil Myers and Allen Cordoba. The win evened the series 1-1, and today’s “rubber match” will decide the series winner.

If you looked up “mixed bag” in the dictionary, you very well might find Clayton Richard’s 2017 game log. He’s thrown eight innings of dominant shutout ball against the Dodgers, and he’s been flushed out in the fourth inning of a game having given up six earned runs. The spacious outfield and relatively slow infield at AT&T Park should play into the sinkerballer’s hands. He’ll need to go deep into this game, as five of the eight bullpen arms have pitched in the last two games. If the offense can get to the Giants’ pitching early, that could give Richard some breathing room.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks
Ty Blach’s sock game is pretty boring.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants turn to Ty Blach to start today’s game. After starting the season as a reliever, this is Blach’s second start of the season. He made two MLB starts late last year, including one in Petco, where the Padres chased him out of the game after three innings. Blach has apparently taken the spot vacated by Madison Bumgarner, who is not ready to try out for the Metal Mulisha, and when I hear his name I can’t help but to think of a minor villain from Shawshank Redemption. The lefty brings a full fastball-changeup-slider-curveball where no single pitch is considered a “plus” offering, but he commands all four enough to have been an effective starter in the minors and a promising reliever in his brief MLB career. He doesn’t generate many strikeouts, meaning that he induces a lot of weak contact and relies on his defense to back him up. The Giants have been plagued by injuries, forcing rookie Christian Arroyo to start at shortstop (where he’s overmatched), and Brandon Belt has been playing leftfield (where he doesn’t move like a LF anymore) to get Michael Morse’s bat into the lineup. He profiles as a starter long-term, but he’s been forced into action because the Giants’ ace wants to be Evel Knievel for his next career. The Padres’ free-swinging approach could fare well against the contact-heavy Blach, especially with the weak defensive lineup that has been forced into manager Bruce Bochy’s hand.

The Padres and the Giants are playing “hot potato” with the title of “last place in the NL West,” and last night’s game put the Padres up by a half game. A win tonight can further embarrass our division rivals by earning the series win and piling some more dirt on the Giants’ messy and troubled season.

Start time: 1:05PM PDT
Radio: 94.9FM, 860AM (Español)
TV: Fox Sports San Diego
Online: MLB.TV