According to the definition of the start, Yovani Gallardo’s 5 IP, 10 K, 3 H, 0 R start tonight was not of the “quality” variety. I beg to differ – Gallardo showed tonight much of what gives him the potential to be a true ace on this Brewers staff.
Gallardo’s night can truly be summarized by this commercial:
Gallardo had to throw 103 pitches to get through his 5 innings tonight, but that was because he wasn’t throwing hittable pitches, resulting in a lot of deep counts, most of which ended in strikeouts. Take a look at Gallardo’s strike zone plot:
What really strikes me about this plot is how few balls were left over the heart of the plate – something I’ve harped on with Brewers pitching. Not coincidentally, tonight was the first start in which Gallardo didn’t allow a home run, a major key, of course, to any pitcher’s success.
Some may worry about the amount of pitches that it took Gallardo to get through 5 innings. Personally, I’m not particularly worried. Starts like tonight’s are very productive and suggest that Gallardo’s deceptiveness may be returning. The Brewers bullpen is good enough that it should be able to handle going 4 innings – even though we haven’t seen it gel yet this year, I still have confidence in guys like Carlos Villanueva, Todd Coffey, and Trevor Hoffman.
On the offensive side, there was a lot of positives. Alcides Escobar showed both power and speed, hitting two triples. Corey Hart showed some patience and discipline, drawing two walks. Hart, along with Carlos Gomez and Casey McGehee, had a double. When your offense is getting that kind of production in terms of extra base hits, even before the home runs by Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, and Jody Gerut, opposing teams are going to struggle to beat you.
Prince Fielder still doesn’t have a home run. It was released today that he’s had a sore left hand, which may be partially to blame. He had an unimpressive night tonight going 1-4 with a single, and RBI, and a walk. Still, I really like Fielder’s approach. He saw 28 pitches in 5 plate appearances, and pitchers are still really having to work hard against him even though he hasn’t been producing like he is capable of. I’m not worried about Prince. The power will pick up soon.
Overall, the Brewers are starting to play like we know that they should. We saw encouraging performances almost all the way around the team today, and I think it’s safe to start showing a little bit of optimism about this team.