How Good Is Garrett Richards?
The short answer: real good. Garrett Richards is the unquestioned ace of the Angels pitching staff, and for the most part has been since last season. After a less than stellar first few outing this season, Richards has regained that dominant form Angels fans got to see last year. Last night was no different, carrying a no hitter into the seventh inning before it was broken up, in all he left with 1o strikeouts and win for the Halos.
These are the type of starts the Angels need out of Richards, obviously nobody expects him to flirt with a no-hitter every time out, but they need the dominance he can bring. Even with Jered Weaver’s last outing, it’s hard to believe he can keep that kind of performance all year, and Matt Shoemaker is another story that is quickly trending toward a minor league uniform. Realistically, to contend for a pennant a team needs at least three good starters in their rotation. Hector Santiago and C.J. Wilson have been positives that will hopefully continue their consistency the rest of the season. Adding a dominant Garrett Richards at the top of the rotation is the difference maker.
Not many guys in the league have shut down type of stuff that can stifle an offensive each time out. Garrett Richards is one of those guys. The arm angle he pitches from makes it a nightmare for hitters to get a clear look at the ball out of his hand. That deception combined with his velocity and put away slider make him a pitcher that can be counted on to give you a chance to win each time out. It was evident last year when he put together a 13-4 record with 164 strikeouts in 168 innings, even more so opponents only hit a mere .201 AVG against him. This year has been no different, at only 3-1, opponents are only hitting .165 AVG against the righty. At 26 years old, it would seem like he is only getting better and could potentially be a perennial Cy Young Award candidate each season.
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The need for the Angels to add one more proven starting pitcher via trade or promotion is clear. This is purely looking towards the postseason and pennant race. With the way the MLB playoffs are set up, a short series usually goes to the team with the more dominant starting pitching. Garrett Richards is your game one starter that will give the Angels a leg up, but looking past that, the rotation needs to be set up for him to pitch twice in a series. All of that relies on the depth of the other starters and another proven arm could ensure the notion the Richards will get the opportunities. Of course, there is a ton of games left to play and a lot of uncertainty remains. But the way this roster is set up with talent, veterans, and contracts, they don’t have time to wait for a postseason run. Having the best player in baseball, and a dominant ace of the staff, makes it more evident that this team is just a few pieces away from being a World Series contender.