Yovani Gallardo’s start against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday wasn’t exactly transcendental, but it’s hard to argue with seven shutout innings, with six strikeouts and only seven baserunners scattered throughout those seven innings. When you throw in that Gallardo doubled and scored the first run in a 2-0 shutout, one could even make the claim that Gallardo basically won the game by himself. The statistic Win Probability Added would back up that statement. A team starts a game with a .500 win probability and wins if they reach 1.00 – therefore a winning team would have a total of .500 WPA in a game. In Sunday’s game against the Cubs, Yovani Gallardo compiled .464 WPA as a pitcher and .055 WPA as a batter, bringing his overall game total to +.519. He won it by himself.
This is not the first time that Gallardo has accomplished this in his career or even this season. On May 28th, Gallardo threw a complete game shutout against Johan Santana and the Mets and went 1-3 at the plate, compiling a total of +.644 WPA, a truly fantastic performance.
One of Gallardo’s more memorable do-it-all performances may be his first start of 2009, against the San Francisco Giants in which he hit a 3-run home run and gave up only 2 runs in 6.2 innings. However, his pitching performance wasn’t quite good enough for his overall line to eclipse +.500 WPA, as he finished at +.427 WPA – a first inning Mike Cameron homer stole some of his thunder.
Staying in 2009, Gallardo just missed the +.500 mark against Atlanta on July 25th, but he did hit the mark on two occasions. On May 25th against St. Louis – the game in which Gallardo dueled Chris Carpenter for eight innings followed by a Bill Hall run-off double in the 10th inning – Gallardo was 0-2 but pitched 8 shutout innings, good for +.531 WPA. His magnum opus of the year came against Pittsburgh on the 29th of April. Once again, Gallardo threw 8 shutout innings, but this time, he also broke the tie, hitting a solo home run off Ian Snell in the seventh inning. Overall, Gallardo compiled a stupendous +.736 WPA in that game.
Gallardo never managed to accomplish the feat in his injury shortened 2008 nor his debut season in 2007, but one can hardly fault him for that. In what has been a fantastic season for Gallardo, this is simply one more item for which to shower praises upon the Brewers young ace. Four times over the last two season, Gallardo has won a game with little or no help from his teammate. That makes him an utterly dominant force, and once again, Brewers fans should be thankful that he will be around until 2015.