Former Knights in the Postseason: Clayton Richard

LHP Clayton Richard has become a key contributor to the Chicago Cubs out of their bullpen during the 2015 Major League Baseball postseason. Richard, who was acquired by the Cubs from the Pirates on July 3, 2015, appeared in two games during Chicago’s NLDS matchup against the Cardinals and didn’t allow a run (0.2 IP).

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 18:  Pitcher Brooks Raley #43 poses during Chicago Cubs photo day on February 18, 2013 at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Currently, Richard and the Cubs are competing against the National League East-winning New York Mets in the NLCS and are down 3–0 in the series. Richard has appeared in all three games out of the ‘pen and has allowed just two hits over two scoreless innings.

Originally a starter, Richard has become a solid left-handed pitcher for the Cubs during the playoffs.

It’s fitting for Richard to perform well in Chicago, since he’s been there before.

The Lafayette, IN native was originally drafted by the the Chicago White Sox in the eighth round of the 2005 draft and made his way through the White Sox system over the next three seasons.

Richard eventually made his way to Fort Mill, SC to pitch for the Charlotte Knights in 2008, before a promotion to the South Side was in his cards later that year.

He excelled during his time with the Knights.

Appearing in seven games with the club in 2008, Richard posted an impressive 6–0 record with a 2.45 ERA over 44.0 innings pitched. During that 2008 campaign, he worked his way up to Charlotte after compiling a 6–6 record with a 2.47 ERA over 83.2 innings pitched with the Double-A Birmingham Barons.

At 24 years old, Richard made his Triple-A debut for the Charlotte Knights on June 12, 2008 in Norfolk and went seven solid innings for the win (7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO). He continued to dominate Triple-A hitters over his short stint with the Knights — winning his first six starts. After those six games, he was 6–0 with a 2.37 ERA.

Richard’s dominating run led to a promotion to the White Sox and his major league debut on July 23. On that day, the University of Michigan product tossed four innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits in a no-decision.

He returned to the Knights and made one more start with the team on August 8 — allowing two runs over six innings in a no-decision.

The following season, Richard was a key piece in the trade deadline deal that brought RHP Jake Peavy to Chicago from San Diego. In five season with the Padres (2009–2013), Richard went 40–39 with a 4.16 ERA in 108 games (107 starts). He became a free agent after the 2013 season.

After undergoing surgery in February (2014), Richard signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 1 and finished up the campaign with four games pitched over two levels (Double-A & Triple-A).

Richard signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates on December 3, 2014 and pitched for both Bradenton (A+) and Indianapolis (Triple-A) in 2015, before finding a role in Chicago’s bullpen. Now, the 32-year-old left-hander has found a role in Chicago’s ‘pen and has excelled in the process.

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