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Trevor Richards went from substitute teaching to striking out 10 Dodgers in less than a year

poses for a portrait at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 22, 2018 in Jupiter, Florida. (Streeter Lecka)

On paper, the pitching match-up in Wednesday's Marlins-Dodgers game was about as lopsided as one could imagine. To be fair, that is often the case when Clayton Kershaw is slated to start, but his Miami opponent on Wednesday, 25-year-old rookie Trevor Richards, boasts a drastically different career trajectory than the bonafide Hall-of-Fame track that Kershaw has been on for years.
And yet, because baseball is baseball, the Marlins right-hander definitively outdueled Kershaw, striking out 10 Dodgers across 4 2/3 scoreless innings. 

While Kershaw was busy winning Cy Young Awards, Richards was on a much different journey. Richards went undrafted out of Division-II Drury University in Missouri, so he went and pitched for the independent Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League in 2015 and 2016. The Marlins signed him in July of 2016 and sent him to the New York-Penn League where he would begin his quick ascent through the farm system.
Like many other Minor Leaguers, Richards has spent the past few offseasons working some non-baseball jobs, including this past winter when he worked as a substitute teacher back home in Illinois. In a matter of months, Richards went from the grade school classroom to the Dodger Stadium mound, facing off against one of the greatest pitchers of all time. Sure!
Richards' outing was no fluke, either -- he's dominated during his relatively brief stint in the Minors thanks in large part to his devastating changeup. That pitch befuddled Dodgers hitters all night long. Corey Seager was the first victim of Richards' string pull in the top of the first: 

The Dodgers may have known about Richards' changeup coming into the game, but if you're looking for it too closely, you may end up looking like Cody Bellinger here:

Usually 92 mph down the middle to Bellinger isn't the best strategy, but if you've got him thinking change-up, that 92 mph ends up looking like 102 mph. 
And even if you know it's coming, Richards' signature pitch can still fool you pretty badly. Seager got a second dose in the 5th: 

It's been a winding journey for Richards, but the right-hander looks here to stay. Hopefully his students won't miss him too much.