When is a one-way ticket to the bullpen a good thing for a starting pitcher?
Their latest solution? Move Garrett Richards, who went 1-2 with a 5.44 earned-run average in four starts this season, back to the bullpen, where he’s allowed just one run in four appearances this season. Richards was scheduled to start Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles but will be replaced by Jerome Williams. He seemed to take the news well.
“I like the rush out of the ‘pen, but I like the preparation of being in the rotation,” Richards said. “There are things about both that I like.”
Williams had been arguably the team’s best reliever when healthy, going 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 21 ⅓ innings. He was especially clutch in the Angels’ 19-inning loss in Oakland on Monday night, throwing six innings without allowing a run.
“The way Jerome’s been throwing the ball in multi-inning looks is something we saw last year,” Scioscia said.
Here’s why it’s a good thing: Angels starters have thrown 8, 6 ⅓, 5 ⅔ (by Richards), 6 and 8 innings the last time through the rotation prior to Friday’s game. Only one of those games ended in a win, but getting enough length from the starters — one of the Angels’ biggest issues in April — hasn’t been a concern.
Scioscia views Richards as a durable arm who can pitch one inning or more most nights.
“Right now we are planning to have him hold leads or pitch in tied games,” Scioscia said. “Instead of once every five days in the rotation, maybe three of those days he’s helping you hold leads in the ‘pen.
“In a perfect world this is a one-way trip for Garrett and he becomes a power arm for our bullpen.”
Williams might be back in the bullpen soon, too. Jered Weaver is expected back at some point this month, and he’ll take over that spot in the rotation. One reason the Angels trust Williams with the ball Sunday: He’s 3-0 in three career starts against the Orioles, including one win each of the last two years.