Garrett Richards Faces Braves Looking to Halt Two-Game Skid

By Jose Serrano

Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

How quickly can a five-game winning streak turn into a three-game skid? Los Angeles is one loss away from finding out.

After beating up on Oakland Monday and Tuesday night, the Angels dropped Wednesday’s series finale before Atlanta’s 4-3 win last night. Aside from tying Washington for the NL East lead, the Braves collected their first win over an American League team this season.

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C.J. Wilson didn’t help matters, allowing four first-inning runs; all on home runs. Evan Gattis’s three run homer was followed by Chris Johnson’s solo shot, giving Aaron Harang more than enough run support. It was Harang’s first career victory over the Angels after losing all four of outings last year.

Wilson and the Halo bullpen shut out the Braves from that point forward but their offense managed to leave six runners on base while going 1-for-6 with RISP. Albert Pujols’s eight inning two-run single cut the lead to one, but the tying run remained at second base.

The Angels’ interleague record stands at 6-3 and trail division-leading Oakland by 3 ½ games.

Pitching Matchup: Garrett Richards (6-2, 3.09 ERA) vs. Gavin Floyd (1-2, 2.57 ERA)

In many ways, Garrett Richards has kept the Angels’ five-man rotation in sync. He’s on a roll over his last two starts, yielding one run on eight hits over the last 15 innings. Before he overpowered Oakland’s potent lineup last Monday, Richards notched a career-high nine punch outs against Houston on June 4.

The right-hander has a 4-1 mark in eight road starts and averages six strikeouts per outing. Richards is 2-0 with a 1.38 in five career interleague starts, including a victory over Philadelphia earlier this year in which he shut them out through seven.

After spending seven years in Chicago’s south side, Gavin Floyd faces the Angels for the first time as a Brave; though he hasn’t beaten them since 2010 and his six losses are the most against any non-AL Central team. The righty picked up his first win of the season in Monday’s 3-1 win over Colorado, surrendering one run in 6 2/3 innings.

Walk offs:

  1. Richards ranks fifth in the AL in WHIP (1.10), eight in strikeout-to-walk ratio (8.49), and 10th in ERA.
  2. Josh Hamilton is 8-for-15 with a homer run and five RBIs against Floyd.
  3. The Angels have lost six of their last seven on the road.

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