A few of us got into a bit of a debate about Yovani Gallardo‘s recent struggles against the Cardinals. Obviously, it hasn’t been pretty the in the last year or so. It’s become a huge storyline: “Gallardo roughed up by Cardinals again.”
Yes, it’s bad. But I really think people are overreacting. It was suggested that the Brewers not pitch Gallardo against the Cardinals anymore, which honestly, is not an option. Even if Yo has been as terrible against the Cardinals as everyone is acting, it wouldn’t be an option. Think about what a storyline that would create. Gallardo and the Brewers would be mocked and accused of being afraid of the Cardinals. Plus, it shows no confidence in one of the team’s best players.
Fortunately, it’s really not as bad as people think. He has struggled mightily against St. Louis recently, but it’s still overblown. His woes have really only occurred in the last eight or so starts against them. He actually has worse numbers against the Reds, for example, but I don’t recall ever hearing much about that.
We all know about the two starts this year against the Cardinals, and the stinker in the playoffs as well. But let’s briefly look at the other ones. Last year against the Cardinals, Yo put up these lines:
8 innings, 0 earned runs
5 innings, 4 ER
4.2 innings, 8 ER
6 innings, 3 ER
And for the heck of it, let’s look at his 2010 starts against St. Louis:
5 innings, 6 ER
2.2 innings, 1 ER (seems like this was a fun defensive game, because while there was only 1 earned run, he allowed 6 runs total)
7 innings, 2 ER
Now, certainly that isn’t a sparkling track record, but listening to some, you’d think Yo has never had any success against the Cards. That just isn’t true. There are a couple stinkers in that group, but there are also some really solid starts there.
His recent struggles against the Cardinals are frustrating, if not concerning, but there certainly isn’t enough there to suggest something as drastic as preventing him from facing a specific team, something I don’t recall ever being done in baseball. My guess is people are fixating on it more because most of the struggles have come recently, and they included the playoffs last year. And also, because it’s the Cardinals, who are for all intents and purposes the Brewers’ daddy the last few years. Like I said, nobody talks about his struggles against the Reds, or against the Rockies.
And finally, it’s such a small sample size that it’s tough to take much information from it, anyway. It’s about 50 random innings, which doesn’t say much at all. The Cardinals have a great offense, so it makes sense that pitchers struggle against them.
Preventing Gallardo from facing the Cardinals is not an answer. After all, isn’t this the best case scenario: Yo faces the Cardinals again this year, pitches well, and regains confidence against them (if he’s even lost any to begin with)?
Put it another way. If you’re the Cardinals, wouldn’t you be thrilled if the Brewers decide they’d rather send the likes of Randy Wolf or Marco Estrada to face you rather than a pitcher who’s been decidedly above average for his entire career?
I hate when managers make lineup decisions because someone is like 2-11 against a pitcher in his career or something. This is the same thing. Overreacting to a fairly small sample is never really a good idea.