The Brewers fell 11-5 to the Cardinals on Opening Day and trailed much of the game, largely thanks to Yovani Gallardo’s issues handling the Cardinals’ lineup. The redbirds managed four home runs against the Brewers’ righty, chasing him after 3.2 innings and six earned runs.
The problem for Gallardo was clear: none of his pitches were finding the strike zone. Gallardo threw a staggering 44 balls in 89 pitches, and had an especially difficult time throwing his breaking balls for strikes from the first at-bat of the game. Just 14 of his 36 sliders and curveballs combined went for strikes; both pitches went for strikes over 55 percent of the time last season.
Gallardo is a pitcher who depends on the ability to get called strikes. His raw stuff is good, but not as good as most ace-level pitchers; his fastball is not able to blow people away by any means. And thus when you have a pitch chart like this…
…things do not usually go as planned.
It was an ugly combination and one that handed the Brewers their first loss of the season. There’s little reason to believe there are any lingering concerns for Gallardo yet. If he finds his typical control, we should see the usual Gallardo sooner rather than later.