Garrett Richards had another outstanding outing on Saturday, shutting out the heavy hitting Atlanta Braves through seven innings, despite the Los Angeles Angels losing a 5-1 lead in the ninth inning, and going into extras. With the Angels’ bats staying strong, it will be pitching that takes the Angels into the division lead over the Oakland Athletics in 2014.
C.J. Wilson is leading the team with seven wins and 87 strikeouts this season, but it’s guys like Richards who are going to make all the difference. Wilson was brought in as a rotation fixer with a big contract, but Richards is found gold. Richards leads the team in ERA, and has had a couple of impressive games recently.
Jared Weaver also has seven wins and 71 strikeouts. Weaver is statistically the third best pitcher on the team, but he’s not far behind. Plus, he has the stuff to keep getting better. Tyler Skaggs has also been solid for the Angels.
Albert Pujols is looking a lot more like the guy who was considered the best player of his era. He cracked a homer in the sixth inning that looked a lot like the easy bombs he produced a few years ago with the St. Louis Cardinals. Plus, with his protégé Mike Trout hitting a deep ball just before him in the sixth, they are easily one of the best back-to-back tandems in the league.
The Angels are really putting something together this season, and as soon as the Athletics slow down a bit, if they ever do, the Angels need to pounce. Obviously the relief pitching needs work, but don’t be surprised to see the Angels on top of the division by the end of the regular season in 2014.