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Richard not pitching as expected

The Sports Xchange
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Left-handed starter Clayton Richard says he is healthy following shoulder surgery that ended his 2011 season after 18 starts.

But Richard is struggling. He lost a fifth straight start Friday night in Philadelphia and some of his numbers are concerning.

In 2010, Richard went 14-9 with a 3.75 ERA and allowed 16 homers -- or one every 12 2/3 innings. Last year, before his season ended after 18 starts, Richard was 5-9 with a 3.88 ERA while allowing a homer every 12 1/3 innings.

This year, the 6-foot-5 former University of Michigan quarterback is giving up a homer every 6 1/3 innings. He gave up two homers Friday night while giving up five runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. His record fell to 1-5 while his ERA climbed to 5.32.

His ERA is 6.32 since he held the Dodgers to two hits and no earned runs in his first outing of the season back on April 8. Since then, he has given up 30 runs (26 earned) on 45 hits and 16 walks in 37 innings.

Richard has also given up seven homers this season, accounting for 12 runs.

Richard has always been a fly-ball pitcher. And it has still worked well for him in his first three starts at Petco Park this season, where he has a 2.21 ERA. But he is now 0-3 in four road starts this season with a 7.98 ERA. Six of the seven homers he has allowed have come on the road.

Richard blamed "lack of fastball command" for the two homers he gave up Friday night.

But you have to wonder if he's fully recovered from the shoulder surgery. Richard said he feels fine physically. But his stuff? "We're getting close," he said.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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