It’s no secret that over his last couple of starts Los Angeles Angels pitcher Garrett Richards has struggled on the mound. His struggles were especially evident in his last outing as he had the shortest start of his three-year career, going just tw0-thirds of an inning and allowing five runs on five hits with one home run and three walks. It was as ugly as can get, but on Wednesday night against the Houston Astros the right-hander had the type of performance he needed to bounce back in a big way as he pitched eight innings while allowing just four hits with nine strikeouts and no runs or walks given up.
That is the kind of start a young pitcher like Richards needs in order to build some confidence heading forward, and that could help him get back to being the dominant pitcher he was to start the season. Through his first eight starts of the year, Richards had a 4-0 record with a 2.42 ERA, 54 strikeouts, just one home run and 35 hits allowed 52.o innings pitched. This stretch included two shutout performances, allowing three runs or less in all but one outing, pitching at least five innings in each start and striking out at least five batters in each game.
Richards was pitching well and most importantly doing it with confidence. There is no reason not to believe that he can’t return to being that type of pitcher heading forward into the season given his lights-out outing on Wednesday. Yes the Angels may have a hill to climb in the AL West as they trail the Oakland Athletics by 5.5. games in large part due to being swept up in Oakland this past weekend, but it is a long season. If they can get their starting rotation to pitch deep into games all else will fall into place.
Their starting pitching was one of the main reasons the team had a 30-23 record and were just a 1.5 games out of first place last week. So with that said, they will need Richards and the rest starting pitchers to be the backbone of the team as they make their push for the playoffs. Ultimately it goes back to the old adage pitching wins championship. It’s just as simple as that.