The Angels pitcher, looking a little dazed, retrieved the ball, looked a runner back to third base and “lobbed a cutter” that bounced past first baseman Mark Trumbo for an error that allowed the Texas Rangers to score one of their four second-inning runs.
But as the Angels defense broke down around Richards, committing four other errors in a 7-4 loss at the Ballpark in Arlington, the 25-year-old right-hander remained unfazed, refusing to let himself succumb to frustration.
“Those things are going to happen,” said Richards, who solidified a spot in the 2014 rotation by going 5-4 with a 3.72 earned-run average in 13 starts after replacing struggling right-hander Joe Blanton in late July. “As far as being a pitcher who has matured over the last year, I’m trying to not let those things blow up.
“Minimize damage and keep a clear thought process. That’s all I was trying to do. Move onto the next pitch. What happened in the past is in the past, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Richards closed the season with two shaky starts, giving up 10 earned runs and 14 hits in nine innings of losses to Oakland and Texas, but he won’t let that diminish from the strides he has made this season. He used to get rattled when he gave up a leadoff double. Now?
“I still feel 100% that I can strand him out there,” Richards said. “I’ve had some games I’ve had to battle out of jams. It’s something I’m feeling more comfortable with, battling through adversity. That’s a positive on the year as well. It’s only going to get better.”