With the Los Angeles Angels‘ back end of the starting rotation a question mark heading into this year’s spring training, Garrett Richards has quickly made his case for one of those spot.
In his first start of 2014 Spring Training, Richards was impressive on the mound as he threw three shutout innings in the Angels’ 3-2 win on Monday over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 25-year-old pitched a 1-2-3 first inning and followed it up the next inning by forcing a double-play to end the frame.
But for Richards, it was the third inning that stood out from his performance in which he allowed the lead-off hitter to get on board and get into scoring position. The next three batters he faced he forced a strikeout and two ground-outs to prevent the run from scoring.
The right-hander in that sequence displayed improvement in his command as he was able to get the hitters to swing at pitches that helped him get out of the inning unscathed. What it also shows is that Richards is continuing to develop as pitcher as in the past he has had trouble with his command which often times leads to walks and long innings that resulted in runs scored for the opposing team.
Although it is early to jump the gun on Richards’ solid outing, the fact that he looked sharp in first game out of the gate is an encouraging sign for the three-year veteran. There is a chance that this could snowball into an impressive month of spring training that could earn him a spot in the starting rotation.
Momentum is everything in baseball, so with Richards starting spring training on the right foot it may be the beginning of him becoming an effective pitcher on the mound for the Halos this season as a potential back end of the rotation starter.