If the Angels are looking to Garrett Richards to save their rotation, they might want to start by not playing the Fresno Grizzlies. The AAA Affiliate of the Houston Astros bashed Richards around on the night that the man he will replace in the rotation, Drew Rucinski, was beaten soundly by the Texas Rangers.
After retiring six straight batters to start the game, he gave up five runs in the next three frames. This is totally uncharacteristic of Richards on the mound throughout this spring and during his rehabbing return from knee surgery.
The big blow was a Preston Tucker HR but walking John Singleton to start the sixth inning was a hole the pitcher dug from which he would not ever climb out. Richards was pulled in the sixth inning and the Salt Lake Bees were beaten handily 12-4.
It appears that Richards is in line to return to a major league mound on Sunday for the first time since August. The risk is that he is not ready after Tuesday's terrible start. The other risk is that he is more ready than anyone the Angels might have available. Sunday's game is against the Astros.
The Halos sent Drew Rucinski down to the minors after Tuesday's game in Texas. With an off day Thursday, more juggling could occur.