ANAHEIM, Calif. — Garrett Richards prefers not to look too far ahead or too far behind. He likes to live in the moment, at least as far as this season is concerned.
The Angels right-hander is in a zone, and he wants nothing to deter him from it. The All-Star Game might be in his future, but there’s no sense worry about it — at least not now.
Richards has been throwing so well this month that manager Mike Scioscia calls his stuff "electric." And it is.
He pitched into the eighth inning Wednesday night, beat the Minnesota Twins 6-2 at Angel Stadium and now is 4-0 this month with a 1.06 ERA in five starts — a number that would be the lowest in team history for June if it holds up.
But Richards balks at talking about his sizzling stretch, no matter how often he is asked.
"I’m just taking it start by start, day by day," he said. "Nothing more, nothing less."
He has seen a reversal of fortunes since May 30, the night he was knocked out in the first inning by the Oakland A’s. Since that horrific start, he has pitched 34 1/3 innings and given up just 20 hits and four earned runs. He allowed a second-inning home run Wednesday to Minnesota’s Oswaldo Arcia, only the third homer he has given up this season in 101 innings.
The win was the Angels’ fifth in a row and their 11th in 12 home games, putting them 10 games over .500 (43-33) for the first since the last day of the 2012 season.
They also have the best home record in the majors at 25-14.
"Our record and the standings are irrelevant right now," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We need to continue to evolve as a team and play more like we’ve been playing this last month."
Richards, 26, is a big reason for their success. But any mention of the All-Star Game almost makes him flinch.
"I would love to be there, but that’s out of my control," he said. "There have been guys that have put up good numbers all year long and didn’t make the All-Star team. I’m not really swallowed up in it. There’s still another half year of baseball to play after the All-Star Game, so that’s kind of what I’m worried about." And that’s exactly where Scioscia wants him.
"He’s going to get (consideration), and he deserves it," he said. "But I think that’s the last thing that Garrett is going to focus on or think about. That can always be a goal for a player. It gives you something to shoot for, but you have to focus on the process.
"That’s where Garrett needs to keep his attention on, the pitch by pitch, the start by start."
Although Richards walked five batters and threw a wild pitch, he didn’t give up a hit between the third and eighth innings. Some close calls by plate umpire Quinn Wolcott may have had something to do with his seeming lack of control.
"I felt like I was getting squeeze a little bit back there," he said, "but those things are going to happen."
He had sufficient offensive support. The Angels scored three runs in the second inning and added two more in the third. They had 10 hits and have scored 14 runs in the past two games.