Richards Plans to Execute Operation ’85 Percent’

Updated: March 27, 2017

Angels’ right-handed hard thrower Garrett Richards went through a total of six innings in a minor league start on Sunday. Richards conveyed that he was pretty happy with the results he put up. In the outing, he only coughed up one earned run, walked only one, struck out four, and was conservative with regard to his pitch count. He needed only 69 pitches to get through those six stanzas.

According to Maria Guardado, Richards had the following to say upon reflecting on the solid day on the mound.

“‘Everything was pretty sharp today,’ Richards said. ‘I’m just trying to carry some momentum into the season. My arm feels pretty good right now, and I’m bouncing back nicely. I’m starting to be able to repeat innings, so I’m just kind of carrying that momentum into the year.’”

Carrying that momentum will be incredibly crucial when it comes to the Angels’ success. Let alone that, Richards also discerns how important it will be for him to take things down a notch for the time being for the betterment of the organization (as awkward and unlikable as that may seem to the naked eye). Why would it be desirable for Garrett to not go all out per se? It is quite simple as a matter of fact. It is to preserve his arm. Richards recognizes that he cannot do the things he once did at the college level. He cannot throw the ball with the same amount of effort for now.

Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register touches on what Richards intends to call this newly devised approach headed into the regular season.

“‘[The] 85 percent mindset.’”

Given the stem cell therapy he has been through, the workload-oriented tweaks are logical. These restrictions have caused him to need to be more efficient when he is out there. This is the only way he will be able to go deeper into games as was the case Sunday. Guardado was sure to include the hurler’s thoughts on the efficiency aspect in her composition.

“‘I feel like I still have the same life on my ball and everything is still the same, but I’m more efficient,” Richards said. ‘I’m ahead, 0-1, 0-2, 1-2, a lot more than I usually am, and I’m not walking anybody.’”

It is encouraging that his velocity remains in the mid-to-upper nineties ballpark range in spite of the slightly slimmer effort being put forward. It will only lead to a higher likelihood of longevity and, moreover, better consistency. These are key attributes to hope for from Garrett for the reason that his injury history is not the most resplendent thing to get a glimpse of. Fletcher included the pitcher’s ruminations relative to the mechanics aspect.

“‘If I can throw at 85 percent, I’m able to repeat my mechanics better,’ he said. ‘I’m able to keep everything moving downhill toward the catcher. Because I throw across my body, direction is a big thing for me. If I can eliminate a little bit of effort and keep everything moving in a straight line, it’s going to help me.’”

It may once more seem somewhat weird to soak in. However, less really could translate to more in the grand scheme of things and be the best course of action for Richards to ride out as 2017 draws near. One way he intends to do this is through cutting back on the amount of changeups. He endeavors to toss more two-seam fastballs instead. Since this specific pitch oftentimes results in grounders regardless of the scenario, this pitch looks to be the hurler’s bread and butter in 2017. Fletcher talks about this more in his news article.

“‘If I’ve got ‘em both going, I’m splitting plates with it,’ said Richards, who added that his goal is to simply ‘fill up the zone and letting the ball play in the zone.’”

Richards is slated to make his next appearance on Friday against the Dodgers. Due to this, he is not bound to pitch on Opening Day. Matt Shoemaker is presently on track to start on said day granted it may seem somewhat controversial and unexpected. Richards is therefore looking like the number three starter if the timetable does not alter anytime soon. Regardless of what happens, it is unpractical to conjure up the idea that Richards is letting this silly speculation get to his head.

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