Saturday, April 9, 2016

Aces in Anaheim: Richards, Hamels square off

Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels is back in his home base and Angels right-hander Garrett Richards is going up against a team he has had much success against the past two years. Hamels and Richards will face each other on Saturday night in the third of a four-game series at Angel Stadium.
Hamels is from San Diego and -- outside of Interleague play - the trips to Anaheim will be the closest he gets to pitching near his hometown while he is in the American League. He has never pitched at Angel Stadium before and this will be just his third start against the Angels.
"I'm not complaining," Hamels said. "One of the reasons Texas was high on the list was the division they were playing in and getting back home, getting the opportunity to play in Anaheim three times and Oakland three times."
Hamels won his first start on Monday against the Mariners, allowing two runs in seven innings. Richards lost his Opening Day start, allowing three runs in five innings in a 9-0 loss to the Cubs.
Richards is 7-1 with a 2.38 ERA in eight starts against the Rangers over the past two years and 9-2 with 3.20 ERA in 14 starts and four relief appearances in his career. His .818 winning percentage against the Rangers is the highest by an active pitcher with at least 10 starts against them.
"They're an aggressive team, but you can kind of feel what they're trying to do," Richards said. "They're very fundamental. They'll hit to the situation. It's a tough challenge facing them. It definitely is. I'm honestly surprised [that I have good numbers against them]. It's one of those quirky stats just kind of is, I guess."
Worth noting:
• Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre are both 10-for-37 off Richards. The 37 at-bats are the most by an opponent against Richards. Prince Fielder is 8-for-20 off Richards. His .400 batting average is the highest by an opponent with at least 15 at-bats against him.
• Only three Angels have more than 10 at-bats in their career against Hamels. Albert Pujols is 5-for-27 with three home runs, Yunel Escobar is 5-for-29 and Andrelton Simmons in 1-for-19.
• The Angels platoon situation in left means Craig Gentry will be in the lineup on Saturday against his former team. Gentry played for the Rangers in 2009-13, but is 6-for-44 against his former team.

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