Milwaukee Brewers More Competitive Without Gallardo?

Yovani Gallardo has been an amazing pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers since he came into the league in 2007.  Some of his accolades and career rankings can be found here.  I always thoroughly enjoyed watching him pitch because I knew that the Brewers would be in the game and that Gallardo would always have a chance of hitting a deep ball; watching a pitcher hit a home run never gets old to me.  It seemed as though he could dominate anyone, on any given day, unless he happened to be pitching against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Gallardo entered the league, the Cardinals have the most wins in the N.L. Central with 706 (the Brewers are second with 665), have the most division titles with 3 (Reds and Cubs have 2), most playoff appearances with 5 (Reds have 3), and have been to two World Series, winning in 2011, when they beat the Brewers in the N.L.C.S.  In order to be the best, you have to beat the best; but just how bad has Gallardo been against the Cardinals?

To say that the Cardinals own Gallardo would be a severe understatement.  Pedro Martinez once called the Yankees, “his daddy’s,” which would be a more accurate description of the Cardinals/Gallardo relationship.  In 19 career starts against the Red Birds, Gallardo is 1-11 with a 6.45 ERA.  Compared to his career marks of 89-64 with a 3.69 ERA, this is truly abysmal.

It’s pretty easy to see how the Cardinals have gotten to Gallardo in the past.  Gallardo has surrendered 136 home runs in his career, in 1289.1 innings, or a home run every 9.48 innings; less than one per game, not bad at all.  Of these 136 home runs, 25 of them have come from the bats of the Cardinals.  In 103.1 career innings against the Cards, 25 home runs equates to a home run every 4.13 innings.  The other N.L. Central teams are as follows:

  • Reds 14 home runs in 144.2 innings or a home run every 10.33 innings.
  • Pirates 14 home runs in 155.1 innings or a home run every 11.1 innings.
  • Cubs 12 home runs in 116 innings or a home run every 9.67 innings.

Originally, I thought that the N.L. Central teams, having more familiarity with Gallardo, would all have higher home run totals.  But, as you can see from the above figures, this is not the case.  The Cardinals have either figured out something in his pitching mechanics, or just have his number.

Gallardo has made one start against the Cards in the postseason, in Game 3 of the 2011 N.L.C.S.  Although he didn’t surrender a home run during this game, he did give up 4 earned runs in the first inning.  The Brewers would go on to lose this game 4-3, and the series, 4-2.

As I mentioned, the Cardinals have obviously been a good team, making the Playoffs in each of the past 4 seasons, and have made many pitchers seem incapable of pitching at the Major League level.  The current Brewers starting pitching rotation has had mixed results against the Cardinals in their career, with career numbers as follows:

I don’t want it to seem like I am a Yovani Gallardo hater, because this is not the case.  I have enjoyed having him in a Brewers uniform for so many years and am sad to see him go.  I like to maintain a ‘glass half-full’ mentality and view this trade as something that should be beneficial for both sides.  The Brewers need starting pitchers that can compete against the Cardinals, and the Rangers needed a veteran starting pitcher (and don’t have to face the Cardinals this year).  I hope for nothing but the best for Gallardo’s future, unless he happens to be pitching against the Brewers.