The Los Angeles Angels beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in Cactus League play on Monday behind three dazzling inning from starting pitcher Garrett Richards. Richards, who is in line for that No. 3 spot in the Angels rotation, struck out two and walked none. The Diamondbacks did not even hit a ball out of the infield against Richards.
Richards is coming off of a season in which he split time in the bullpen and the starting rotation. As a starter last season, Richards had a 4.18 ERA in 17 starts. He brings to the mound an arsenal which includes two plus fastballs, an unhittable slider when it is on, a knee buckling 12-to-6 curveball and a change-up. It is time for Richards, who will be 26 years old in May, to step into the Angels’ rotation and show the team what he can do. He is projected to be the No. 3 starer behind ace Jared Weaver and lefty C.J. Wilson.
The Angels do not have a lot of depth in their starting pitching. Richards needs to really step up and be the starting pitcher he was in the minor leagues where he left a 34-11 record and a career 3.34 ERA. With the likes of Richards, Nick Maronde and newly acquired Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs, the Angels have a core group of young starters who could prove to be the future of this Angels club.
Richards’ three scoreless innings are a good sign that he may be on his way to a breakout season, giving the Angels three possible 15-game winners.