LA Angels hoping to get a big lift from the return of Garrett Richards

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 05: Garrett Richards
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 05: Garrett Richards /

Going into the 2017 season the LA Angels were cautiously optimistic as Garrett Richards the staff ace had jumped through every hurdle to return from a torn UCL in his right elbow.  That optimism turned to utter disappointment quickly.

During Garrett Richards’ first start of the season for the LA Angels, the 6’3 Texas native looked great for four innings.  Unfortunately in the fifth Richards was forced to come out due to soreness in his right arm.  Days later Richards was placed on the disabled list with a right bicep strain that has kept him out for the last five months.

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Today with the Angels in the thick of the wild-card race Richards returns to the mound for the Angels in Oakland hoping to provide them with a spark. Richards has said all along that he would be back before seasons end and he will now make good on that promise.  However the question is how effective will Richards be and how long will he last.

Both of these questions are ones that we will have to wait to see how Richards answers them.  As I mentioned in an earlier article today, the Angels have had two injured pitchers return in Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney.  Both Skaggs and Heaney have struggled mightily since returning as they are a combined 1-5 with an ERA well over 6.  If Richards can’t fare any better than it would be better for the Angels to go with what they already and hope for the best.

However if Richards can show the form he did in 2014 and 2015 going 28-16 with a 3.18 ERA then he would be a welcome addition to a staff that has been struggling as of late. The only quality start the Angels rotation has had in the last 20 games was Parker Bridwell against Houston on August 25th.  During that span the Angels are 10-9.   While that record is not spectacular it is not bad either considering the Angels 15 of 19 games against playoff contenders.

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The Angels have made upgrades to their hitting by acquiring Justin Upton and Brandon Phillips, but they did nothing to upgrade their pitching.  The reasoning was the addition of Heaney, Skaggs, and now Richards were considered to be upgrades since all three are pitchers the Angels are counting on not only this season, but for the foreseeable future.

Next: Hottong carrying Angels through pitching woes

Hopefully Richards will have a triumphant return albeit a short one since he will be limited to about 50 pitches. Let’s watch and see and keep out fingers crossed when Richards takes the mound. Good luck GRich!