Facing the Rangers' lineup is a tall task for any pitcher, never mind a 24-year-old with 11 career starts under his belt. But Richards has done well against Texas in the past -- he had a 1.59 ERA in 5 2/3 innings vs. the Rangers in 2011 -- and has been solid in his brief time in the Majors this year.
Richards is 3-2 with a 3.91 ERA in 2012. He was removed from the starting rotation following the Angels' acquisition of Zack Greinke.
"I'm going to seize every opportunity that they give me," Richards said Tuesday. "That's the only thing you can do, just take advantage of the opportunities that are given to you."
Like the Angels, the Rangers also made a few moves at the Trade Deadline, picking up Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, who will start in Thursday's series finale, and catcher Geovany Soto. Dempster certainly bolsters the rotation, but what the Rangers need most is their big offseason signing, Darvish (11-7, 4.05 ERA), to regain form.
The 25-year-old right-hander went 10-5 with a 3.59 ERA prior to the All-Star break. He is 1-2 with a 6.41 ERA since, which prompted a conversation with pitching coach Mike Maddux.
"It was a good conversation when we talked in the bullpen like we've done before," Darvish said Tuesday. "Whether it really plays into the game or not, we'll just have to wait and see. but it was a good back and forth."
Darvish said he hopes facing the Angels for the fourth time this season will play into his favor, as he is obviously quite familiar with the lineup at this point. He is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in those starts and his last start vs. Los Angeles, coming on July 21, he allowed three hits in seven innings and struck out 11.
"I don't know if it's advantageous or a disadvantage to both sides," Darvish said. "I'll go back on the way ... I pitched against them before and use that as reference and try to have another quality start."
Rangers: Hamilton finishes difficult month
July was a month to forget for Josh Hamilton. The outfielder led the American League in batting average for the better part of the season, however, his average has taken a severe hit since then, falling from .404 in mid-May to .287 after Tuesday's game.
"You're going to be great sometimes, good sometimes, you're going to [stink] sometimes, and just be average other times," said Hamilton, who finished with a .177 average in July. "The difference between the really good ones and the above-average ones is understanding what you're doing wrong, fixing it, and not staying in those slumps for a long time.
Hamilton went 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and an RBI in Monday's 15-8 loss to the Angels. It was his first three-hit game since May 11. He didn't necessarily carry that momentum into Tuesday's game, going 1-for-4. But it was against a Cy Young candidate in Jered Weaver and Hamilton feels he's not far off.
"The crazy thing is that I've always been good at, if something's not right, getting it right quick. This time, I wasn't able to get it right quick," Hamilton said. "It just hadn't translated into the game yet. [Monday] was a good feeling getting out there and ... putting the barrel on the ball.
Angels: Downs hits the disabled list
The Angels lost one of their most important relievers in Scott Downs on Tuesday. Downs felt pain following his outing Friday and was placed on the disabled list as a result.
"Last couple days I've been trying to throw and get through it, but it didn't loosen up," said Downs, who is eligible to be activated no sooner than Aug. 13. "I couldn't get it extended."
Downs had been struggling as of late, allowing nine runs in five innings since the All-Star break. But he's been one of the team's most consistent relievers, and he had given up one run in 30 innings prior to the break.
Lefty Hisanori Takahashi was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake as Downs' replacement.