MLB's best pitcher just got out-pitched by ex-substitute teacher


Just this past winter, Trevor Richards was working as a substitute teacher in his hometown of Aviston, Illinois. Before that, he worked at a MillerCoors brewery in Milwaukee.

But on Wednesday night, Richards found himself pitching under the bright lights of Dodger Stadium.

His opponents? The defending National League champions. And taking the rubber for the Dodgers was three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, an all-time great who’s considered by many to be the best pitcher in the game today.

But that didn’t stop Richards from shining. In four and two-thirds innings, he gave up no runs on just one hit with a whopping 10 strikeouts and three walks. The only reason he got pulled so early was the fact that he threw 100 pitches.

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“We couldn’t figure him out,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the game, according to ESPN.

Richards was considerably better than Kershaw, who let up three runs on five hits in five innings with seven strikeouts and six walks.

The rookie’s outing was even more impressive when considering the fact that it was the first time he had pitched west of Oklahoma. “It’s kind of cool, older than I thought,” he told he Miami Herald, referring to Dodger Stadium.

It was easily the best start of Richards’s major-league career, though to hear him tell it, he thought it could have been better.

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“I wouldn’t say it was a dream outing,” Richards said. “I would have liked to go six or seven innings. But overall it was good, a step forward.”

“I just focused on keeping the ball down and attacking the zone early, throwing strikes and looking ahead,” he explained. “We were just, fastball-changeups a lot. Trying to keep them off-balance.”

Richards, 24, played baseball at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, but went undrafted. So, he signed with the Gateway Grizzlies of the independent Frontier League, who he played with for two seasons, The Associated Press reported.

Eventually, the Marlins noticed Richards, and he joined their Single-A affiliate in 2016. Richards worked his way up through the Marlins’ minor-league system, and made his major-league debut earlier this season.

In his fifth career start, he shut down the Dodgers and out-pitched arguably the game’s best hurler.

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“It was cool, but I just tried to stay in the moment and enjoy it as long as I could,” Richards said later, according to “(Facing Kershaw) was probably easier said than done, but everybody we have played is a name that I know, so you get used to it. It’s more just focusing on your job and what you have to do that day. My job was their lineup.”

Richards may have tried to be modest, but Marlins manager Don Mattingly put into words what everyone was thinking.

“Trevor was really good today,” Mattingly said. “It’s really what we needed.”

The Marlins went on to win the game 8-6.

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Joe Setyon was a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who had spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon was deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
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