Garrett Richards was asked after Friday night’s 3-0 win over the Texas Rangers if he had taken the mound with a chip on his shoulder after being snubbed in the selection process for the All-Star Game last Sunday.
“Of course,” the Angels right-hander said after allowing five hits in seven shutout innings, striking out eight and walking two in Globe Life Park to improve to 11-2 with a 2.55 earned-run average and 127 strikeouts on the season and 7-0 with a 1.27 ERA in his last eight starts.
“I’ll probably end up carrying that with me the whole year, to be honest with you. It might be some motivation for the whole season.”
But what will Richards do with that chip if he is a late addition to the American League All-Star team? Would the initial snub remain a motivating factor, driving the 26-year-old star for the rest of the season, or would the flame-throwing Richards have to find something new to fuel his fire?
These questions might be asked on Sunday if Tampa Bay ace David Price, who was scratched from Saturday’s scheduled start against the Toronto Blue Jays because of illness, pitches instead on Sunday.
Rays Manager Joe Maddon said he remained hopeful that Price could pitch on Sunday, but if he does that would knock the left-hander out of Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Minnesota and open up another spot.
Richards, who finished second to Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale in the “final five” fan balloting to choose the final players on the AL and NL rosters, would be the favorite to get that spot.
“Garrett has perspective, he has focus,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “It’s disappointing when maybe you don’t get the recognition you deserve, and he certainly deserves it. But he also understands the selection process, and though it’s not perfect, it’s the system we have now.
“He’s an All-Star in our minds, no doubt about it. He’s having an incredible first half, and hopefully he’ll pick it up right after the break.”