Garrett Richards isn’t making any plans for July 14-17. As of now, he’ll be off those four days, but he’s desperately hoping to be put to work.
Yes, the Angels pitcher was left off the American League All-Star team, but he could be a late add thanks to fan voting. Richards, who hasn’t lost since May, has made it though seven innings in each of his last three outings, including Sunday’s six-hit, one-run, 11-strikeout performance against Houston.
Richards found out after the game that he did not make the All-Star team.
“Initially, I was a little bit disappointed,’ he admitted on the Doug Gottlieb Show. “and I had pitched a good game that day, so it was kind of bittersweet. But when they told me the fans could vote me in, I was still hopeful – and I still am, and I’m hoping to still get in.”
Richards, 26, is 10-2 with a 2.71 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and has 119 strikeouts in 116.1 innings. He’s also yielding a league-low .196 batting average.
“I think it’s just my confidence,” Richards said, explaining his success. “I’m starting to believe in my stuff, and I’m starting to figure out a few things on the mound – going over hitters and stuff. I’m starting to understand pitch counts and things like that, so I’m kind of putting all of that into my game and really staying confident and going right at guys and trying to throw quality strikes.”
An All-Star nod would be especially meaningful for Richards, who entered this season with an 11-13 career record.
“It would be huge,” he said. “It’s one of the goals along the way of developing as a pitcher and getting to this level. You start making goals for yourself at the beginning of the year. I feel like every year every player says, ‘Hey, I’m going to make the All-Star team this year.’ But now that I see that I actually have a chance to do that, it’s kind of eye-opening. I’m appreciative of where I’m at and the people that have gotten me here and worked with me and obviously the fans who have gotten me to this point. I’m very grateful.”
Richards is also keeping his All-Star hopes in perspective, as the Angels (52-37) are 21-11 in their last 32 games.
“We’re playing good baseball right now as a team, so it’s hard to dwell on (the All-Star stuff) when we’re winning games,” Richards said. “It’s a great group of guys. It’s a solid mix of veteran guys and younger guys. A lot of the younger guys on the team, we’ve come up and played together and been around each other. The additions that we’ve made, guys have just kind of slipped right in there, no problem. Didn’t even skip a beat. It’s just a loose clubhouse, and everybody’s all about winning. It’s pretty cool to be a part of.”
Richards was asked if Mike Trout has changed at all since signing a six-year, $144.5-million extension in March.
“Not one bit,” Richards said. “The guy’s still the same person he was a month or two ago.”
His stats are still pretty filthy, too. Trout, 22, is hitting .303 with 20 home runs, 64 RBIs and is a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen bases. He also has a .397 OBP.
“He’s truly a special player,” Richards said. “He’s the best player I’ve ever seen.”