The Emergence of Garrett Richards

By Anthony Laughlin

Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels’ starting pitching this year has been marvelous. This success has been shared between all five starters; especially Garrett Richards. He has emerged as a huge weapon for Angels pitching. In previous seasons, Richards split time between the bullpen and the starting rotation, mostly as a spot starter.

Coming into 2014, the Angels were in search of a starter for the back end of the rotation behind the aces Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson. Richards was the perfect guy for the Angels. He had previous starting experience and many believed he possessed Cy Young stuff. Richards has impressed almost every one around the Angels with a record of 7-2, and an ERA of 2.79. In his June 14 start against the Atlanta Braves, he should have received a win but the bullpen blew a four run ninth inning lead, but that’s a story for another day.

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He has matched his 2013 win total and has an ERA of nearly two runs less. Hitters have not faired very well against Richards either, opponents are hitting a microscopic .207 against him which is good for second in the American League. Richards also rarely surrenders the home run ball. He averages .192 home runs per nine innings pitched. He has allowed only two home runs all season in 15 total starts.

Since Richards’ worst start in his career on May 30 in Oakland in which he allowed five earned runs in .2 innings. He then bounced back with four solid outtings in a row, only giving up a total of two earned runs in 27 innings.

A big contributor to his recent success has been a decrease in walks. In his first 11 starts of 2014, he gave up at least two walks per game, including a season high of five in his first start vs. the Astros. In his four starts combined, he has allowed only six total walks, including two starts in which he did not allow a walk.

With the recent inconsistency of Weaver and Wilson, the Angels were in desperate need of a solid starter that they could count on. Richards has stepped up and has fit the bill quite nicely. If the Angels want to make a run they will need a solid and consistent Richards.