Another tall order for Angels rookie Garrett Richards
The 23-year-old right-hander walked the first two batters he faced and gave up a three-run home run to Curtis Granderson en route to a five-inning, six-run, six-hit outing and a 9-3 Angels loss.
Richards, called up from double-A Arkansas to replace struggling right-hander Joel Pineiro in the rotation, said he expects to feel more comfortable in his second start in Angel Stadium on Monday night, but the task doesn't get any easier.
Richards must face the Texas Rangers, who are coming off a three-game sweep of Oakland, have won eight of their last 10 games and have a potent lineup led by Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Michael Young and Mike Napoli.
The Rangers have also punished big league neophytes. Over the last three seasons, opposing rookies making their first or second career start against Texas are 2-5 with a 6.36 earned-run average. Surprisingly, the Rangers are only 8-10 in those games.
“These guys are a little more aggressive than New York, so hopefully he will be able to get it in the zone early with good pitches and better counts,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “He had a tough time with the first two hitters in New York and that set the table. ... I think getting the ball in a good zone early in the game is going to be critical to Garrett or any pitcher, especially a young pitcher. His stuff is legitimate.”
The Angels lineup: 2B Maicer Izturis, 3B Alberto Callaspo, DH Bobby Abreu, RF Torii Hunter, 1B Mark Trumbo, LF Vernon Wells, SS Erick Aybar, CF Peter Bourjos, C Bobby Wilson, P Garrett Richards.
The Rangers lineup: 2B Ian Kinsler, SS Elvis Andrus, CF Josh Hamilton, 3B Michael Young, RF Nelson Cruz, C Mike Napoli, LF David Murphy, DH Yorvit Torrealba, 1B Mitch Moreland, P Alexi Ogando.
Photo: Angels pitcher Garrett Richards makes his debut against the Yankees in New York last week. Credit: Kathy Kmonicek / Associated Press