Today, over at FanGraphs, I profile how Gallardo’s increased curveball usage helped him induce 16 ground balls and finish off the Braves on Tuesday. For more on Gallardo’s actual pitching performance, go check that out.
There was something else notable about Gallardo’s performance last night, however – not only did he throw a complete game shutout, but he also scored the only run of the game in the third inning on a Ryan Braun single with two outs. This isn’t the only time that Gallardo has helped himself in the midst of a fantastic pitching performance.
As I detailed last year, Gallardo has effectively won games by himself on multiple occasions. To see this, we can use Win Probability Added, a stat that looks at what percentage a player increases his team’s probability to win. Since, by definition, each team starts at 50%, a WPA of 50% (or 0.5) is effectively winning a game by one’s self.
Prior to Tuesday night, Gallardo’s best performance was a +.736 WPA performance against Pittsburgh on April 29th of 2009. Gallardo went 8 scoreless and hit the game-winning homer in a 1-0 victory that night.
Although his performance with the bat wasn’t quite as heroic on Tuesday, his complete game effort earned him a whopping +.770 WPA on the pitching side. The bat cost him -.010 WPA, but total that still combines for a +.760 overall WPA, his best ever performance. Although it may get lost in the slog that is a 162 game season, make no mistakes: Gallardo’s performance last night was one for the ages and, at least by one measure, his best game as a Brewer.