Red Sox: Garrett Richards is becoming Boston’s most consistent starter

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 27: Garrett Richards #43 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on April 27, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 27: Garrett Richards #43 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on April 27, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Garrett Richards shines again for the Red Sox

Another start has come and gone and Garrett Richards has once again shined for the Red Sox on the mound. It feels like it’s becoming more and more routine that once he’s made his start I have to come one here and admit that I was wrong in my early season opinion of him. While his first few starts were a nightmare and the excuses that followed were headache-inducing, he’s completely turned his season around.

Richards was on the mound last night in Dunedin to take on the second-place Toronto Blue Jays. The squad from north of the border was able to squash Boston on Tuesday night and the Red Sox didn’t take that lightly. They stormed out of the gates on Wednesday which led to five runs being scored in the top of the first, highlighted by Alex Verdugo and J.D. Martinez hitting back-to-back bombs. This gave the righty more than enough to work with to get the job done and get another slash in the win column.

"“It was a good battle day,” Richards said. “I didn’t necessarily feel like I had my best stuff but was able to make it work.”"

It wasn’t smooth for Richards, let’s be honest. But what I saw from him last night gave me more hope and even excitement than an effortless start where he cruised. He had to grind and fight for damn near every out which showed a level of composure and confidence in himself that is refreshing to see. I think if this were earlier in the season and he hadn’t fixed his mechanics we would’ve seen a meltdown, but those days seem like they’re more than long gone.

As I said, it wasn’t pretty by any means. Richards finished with a 6.2/7H/2ER/4BB/5K line and had a chance to close out the full seven innings but seemingly ran out of gas. He would get lifted for Garrett Whitlock in a dynamic duo of sorts that has emerged in recent outings. It was a start that the Red Sox needed from him and as he has done for many of his recent starts, he delivered. He knows he didn’t have his sharpest stuff last night but that didn’t stop him from throwing his heart out.

"“I’m kind of growing into a complete pitcher, I guess you would say,” Richards said. “Be able to compete on days you don’t have the best stuff. Recognizing situations, recognizing counts, reading swings. These are some things that take reps and take you getting burned a few times before you realize it. It has been a learning period of time and I think we’re trending in the right direction so I’m stoked about that.”"

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When the season began I honestly didn’t expect anything from Richards as a middle-of-the-rotation starter who’s had some injury issues over his career. But as the big names in the rotation have run into some hiccups this season it’s been Richards and Nick Pivetta that have risen to the occasion to become reliable arms for Alex Cora. They may not always walk away with a win, well Pivetta usually does, but you know they’re going to go out and give everything they have in order to give Boston the best chance to win.

What I like the most from his presser last night after the game is he’s now taking accountability if he’s having a bad outing which was a major issue, at least for me, at the beginning of the year. He’s owning his poor showings while speaking about what he’s going to do correct them and get better. That’s all I need to hear. He’s made it clear that he’s taking a different approach to his game and it’s allowing him to succeed in a big way. He now owns a 4-2 record through 48.1 innings with a 3.72 ERA and 3.86 FIP. One hell of a rebound from his first few starts.

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Garrett Richards has been a bit of a revelation for the Red Sox in 2021 and looks to be factored into the starting rotation for the long haul this season. He’s proven to be a solid signing through two months of the season and is earning every penny of his $10M deal. If this team is to compete for a postseason spot this year they’ll need all of their starters on their A-game and Richards is holding his end of the bargain up to this point. I look forward to seeing what he can do as the season continues to progress and we get into the nitty-gritty of the playoff hunt.