Richards was once again thrown into the fire facing another team with a strong offense. The Rangers started quick out of the gates with a quick run in the first. Richards left shortly thereafter with a groin injury. Bobby Cassevah relieved Richards, and he was able to leave the inning unscathed.
The Angels tied it up in the 2nd with a Vernon Wells double to score Torii Hunter, but the Angels would be not be competitive for the rest of the night. The Rangers behemoth of an offense would not be stopped by a lackluster Angels bullpen. Cassevah gave up 1 run in the 3rd, and Takahashi and Thompson gave up a combined 6 runs in the 5th off of Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli back-to-back home runs. Napoli continues to be a constant reminder of both front office struggles and what might have been.
The game was out of reach at that point at 8-1 in the 5th. Joel Piniero, in his new bullpen role, pitched 3 innings with no ER and only 3 hits allowed. He may have pitched his way back into the 5th starter role--doubly so if Richards is injured for an extended period of time.
The only excitement for the rest of the night came off of a Russell Branyan 2-run shot to right-center in the 7th. He came in as a defensive substitution for Alberto Callaspo at 3B to the surprise of some. The world didn't explode, and maybe this is a sign of things to come. Jeff Mathis came in as a substitute at the same time, so maybe it isn't.
The Angels need to be more creative with their offense going forward because it is just not getting it done at this point. They sit 5 games back with 9 left to play against Texas. A serious postseason run probably means taking 3 of 4 from Texas this series, and also winning most, if not all, series going forward. Hopes for the postseason are on their last legs at this point. Hopefully the Angels turn it around and get back into the hunt for the AL West crown.
Takahashi (146 votes)
Thompson (36 votes)
Offense not named Branyan (239 votes)
421 total votes