SAN DIEGO -- The Reds' Scott Feldman has done just fine as a starter, thank you. And he is out to continue his winning run against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night at Petco Park.
"He's been our most reliable starter," Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said.
Feldman (5-4, 4.09 ERA) faces the Padres looking for the Reds' second straight win in the series and hoping to build on his last outing in which he was stellar. He stymied the St. Louis Cardinals in winning his third straight decision as he has resurrected his career as a starter.
Last year, Feldman was used almost exclusively as a reliever. Of his 40 appearances with the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays, only five came as a starter. This year he already has six quality starts, which leads the staff.
"I think he kind of got outside his area of strength last year both in Houston and Toronto by pitching mostly out of the bullpen," Price said. "I've seen him be good as a starting pitcher and I think that's where he is best-served for us. I think he is a big league starter and he has certainly been our top guy."
Feldman, who has a 4.26 ERA in six career appearancs against the Padres, worked seven scoreless innings when facing the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, surrendering but four hits. He had four strikeouts and didn't have a walk for the first time in an outing this year.
"He was in more of an attack mode with early-count strikes," Price said. "There are times he gets a little too corner-conscious, though he does have the pitches to do it. He doesn't just concede the fastball when he gets behind in the count.
"When he has struggled, he has been behind too often. That is the one thing that when he is on attack mode and jumping ahead, he has been spectacular."
That adjective didn't apply to Clayton Richard's last start. Richard (4-7, 4.54 ERA) got pushed around by the Arizona Diamondbacks when he gave up four runs and six hits over five innings on Thursday. Richard notes that he had a 3-2 lead in the fifth before Chris Iannetta smacked a two-run homer.
"It was very matter-of-fact what went wrong," Richard told reporters. "It wasn't like it snowballed out of control. It was just a couple of pitches and one misplayed ball."
But it was enough to chase Richard in favor of a pinch-hitter in the sixth. Richard exited despite heaving but 77 pitches.
"I felt as if I threw the ball well," he said. "Unfortunately, the times it counted, I didn't execute a couple of pitches."
Richard, a southpaw, is making his seventh career start against the Reds. He is 0-2 with a 6.31 ERA in those games, and he'll be challenged by a lineup that includes the leading All-Star vote-getter at shortstop in Zack Cozart.
When the latest tabulations were announced on Monday, Cozart led all National League shortstops in batting average, hits, triples, home runs (tied), extra-base hits, total bases, RBIs and various other categories.
That Cozart, even with his statistical edge, is ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers Corey Seager is impressive.
"We haven't had a call of arms to go vote, to push our fan base to get someone over the top," Price said. "Zack is on top because of the national vote and not so much the regional vote. I think that is a big deal."