Garrett Richards will start for the Angels on Saturday in Oakland.

Garrett Richards

Garrett Richards will make his fifth start of the season Saturday against the Oakland A’s. (Getty Images)

Garrett Richards will start Saturday for the Angels against the Oakland A’s. Richards will take the place of right-hander Joe Blanton (2-13), who leads the major leagues in losses.

Blanton was 0-3 with an 8.84 earned-run average in his last four starts. Manager Mike Scioscia praised Blanton’s effort Tuesday but acknowledged the reality of the situation.

“He obviously doesn’t have everything together like he needs to,” Scioscia said. “He’s working hard with [pitching coach] Mike [Butcher] to find the consistency that he needs to repeat pitches, and it’s been a struggle for Joe.”

Richards has started four games this season, all in April, and relieved another 30. As a starter the 25-year-old from Riverside is 1-2 with a 5.54 earned-run average despite limiting opponents to a .229 batting average, .282 on-base percentage and .365 slugging percentage.

As a reliever, he’s been hit harder (.281/.332/.380) but has a lower ERA (4.10) in a much larger sample size.

Richards started nine games for the Angels last year (3-2, 4.42 ERA) before being demoted to the bullpen in August.

It remains to be seen how or if Blanton would fit into the team’s pitching staff with Richards in the rotation.

The Angels enter the four-game weekend series in a critical position. They began Wednesday 11 games behind the A’s for first place in the American League West, before beating the Minnesota Twins 1-0 to salvage the final game of their three-game series.

The Angels have 63 regular-season games remaining and 10 are against the A’s.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.