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Richard Dinked, Exits Early, Starts Thursday

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Yesterday, I wrote that Ozzie Guillen needed to have a swifter hook with Gavin Floyd, citing a rested bullpen and a clearly laboring Floyd. Today, Ozzie yanked Clayton Richard after just 3.2 innings, yet he seemed to be the victim of bad luck more than bad pitching.

Richard wasn't getting hit extraordinarily hard and wasn't walking guys even though home plate umpire Andy Fletcher wasn't giving the inside corner to right-handers. I probably wouldn't have pulled him, but I can't blame Ozzie. As I noted yesterday, the pen was rested, and if he didn't give D.J. Carrasco and Aaron Poreda some work it would have been another two days (at least) until they saw game action. 

There comes a point, however, when you have to be concerned about Richard's inability to go deep into games. His abbreviated outing Sunday dropped his average innings per start down to just an eyelash over 5. His last 4 outings have spanned 85 pitches or less, and he's recorded an out in the 6th inning in only one of his last 6 starts, his 6-inning rain-shortened complete game last week. 

Ozzie says he remains confident in Richard even if his actions belie his words

"We trust him," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He has great stuff to pitch at the big league level. But every time he goes out there, we have to be patient and realize he's a kid, and we try to get him better every time he goes out there."

While Richard hasn't been able to pitch deep into games, Poreda has hardly pitched at all since getting the call up to the big club nearly a month ago. He's thrown a total 1.1 innings since Ozzie said he would be "used a little bit more." If this is 'more,' I'd hate to see less. It would be one thing if Poreda looked like a rattled rookie, or worse, say, Jimmy Gobble, but Poreda has yet to be scored upon as a big-leaguer (which, of course, means he's getting shelled next time out. You can thank me later.)

Richard will have one more chance to prove himself before the All-Star break, which apparently will be Thursday on short rest. In which case, today's shortened outing was surely part of the plan. I could go back and rewrite this to make it seem like I knew all along, but I'll just keep it honest. And in the interest of honesty, I most definitely turned the game off after Carrasco gave up the wall-denting homer to Miguel Olivo.