In his two full seasons in the majors with the Los Angeles Angels, Garrett Richards has had his struggles as a starting pitcher, to say the least.
In his rookie season in 2012, Richards appeared in 30 games, which included making nine starts where he had 4-3 record with a 4.69 ERA, 47 strikeouts, 34 walks, and 77 hits allowed in 71.0 innings pitched for the year. In those nine starts, he struggled by giving up 22 earned runs, and 44 hits in 53.0 innings pitched.
The 25 year old began the 2013 regular season as an arm out of the bullpen due to the Halos’ offseason acquisitions of Jason Vargas, Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton. But when Jered Weaver suffered a fractured elbow in mid-April, Richards helped fill the temporary void by making four starts in which he struggled by going 1-2 record with 5.54 ERA, seven walks and 18 strikeouts in 26.o innings. This, however, did include a pitching gem of seven shutout innings with two hits allowed to go along with eight strikeouts in a 10-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on April 20.
After he made those fill-in starts, he was once again relegated to the bullpen where he was an inconsistent pitcher that showed flashes of great pitching, as evident by his five straight appearances of no runs allowed in 4.2 innings pitched. But he would also show his inexperience, as he gave up as least one run in 11 of his 30 appearances out of the bullpen last season.
In the last two months of the season, he would be placed back in the starting role when Vargas, Blanton and Hanson all either experienced injuries or performed poorly enough to lose their spot in the starting rotation. In that span, he made 13 starts where he struggled to maintain consistency as he had a 5-4 record with a 3.72 ERA, 25 walks, 53 strikeouts, and 81 hits allowed in 77.1 innings pitched. Once again, he did show some promise by going a stretch where he won four out of five starts with a 3.07 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 29.1 innings pitched.
So, now entering the 2014 regular season, Richards is heading into spring training as a projected starter, but things may change if he struggles or the organization acquires another starting pitcher via free agency or trade. He may ultimately be a in similar position to what he has been in for the past two seasons for the team.
Nonetheless, the 25 year-old will be a important arm on the Halos’ pitching staff, as he will serve as either an arm of out the bullpen or a starter, as the Angels are looking to improve on the porous team pitching performance that they had all last season.