Richards, the hard-throwing right-hander who has emerged as one of baseball's best pitchers in his first full season as a starter, suffered what Manager
Richards spent eight minutes on the ground before being wheeled out on a stretcher. His 2014 season appears finished, and he will likely need surgery on the patellar tendon, a procedure that would require at least a six-month recovery.
No doubt, fans and followers of this star-crossed franchise were wondering: Did the team's
"To have something like that happen is a crushing blow to any team," Angels right-hander
The Angels showed the kind of resiliency it will take to overcome Richards' loss, overcoming a three-run deficit and leaning heavily on their bullpen in an 8-3 victory over the Red Sox, their seventh victory in eight games.
The Angels (75-50) have the majors' best record and a 11/2-game lead over Oakland on the eve of their
But their pennant hopes, and their ability to match up with the league's most dominant pitchers in the playoffs, were dealt a serious blow when Richards, whose mixes a 96-mph fastball with a devastating slider and curve, crumpled to the ground.
"We have no choice but to rally around each other, and we did that tonight," catcher
Richards, 26, began the game with a 13-4 record, 2.53 earned-run average, 164 strikeouts in 167 innings and a .195 opponents' average, tied with Seattle's
With runners on first and second and one out in the second, Brock Holt hit a grounder to Pujols, who spun and fired to second. Richards sprinted from the mound toward first to receive a relay from shortstop
Richards fell awkwardly and athletic trainers Adam Nevala and Rick Smith rushed to the field. A crowd of 35,136 fell silent as Richards rolled onto his back and clutched his left knee.
"When I saw him go down, I got sick to my stomach," said center fielder Mike Trout, Richards' roommate since the minor leagues. "It didn't look good. He was in tears. I feel terrible. When I talked to him [in the clubhouse], he was devastated."
Weaver also saw Richards in the trainers' room before the injured pitcher was taken to a hospital. Richards will fly to Los Angeles on Thursday for tests and evaluation.
"When the doctor came in and told him he might have done something to his patellar tendon and surgery might be involved, he kind of lost it," Weaver said. "He's a competitor. He wants to be out there day in and day out.
"It was tough to see him in that position. It's one of those freak things that happen. Our trainer said he hasn't seen anything like this since he's been around baseball."
The Angels already had no margin for injury in the rotation after losing left-hander
Their best triple-A options to replace Richards are left-hander