For anyone that still had doubt that Yovani Gallardo was capable of being an ace for a Major League team, I submit to you Gallardo's performance on Wednesday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Gallardo followed up his first career complete game in his last start against Houston by dominating the Pirates.
He pitched eight shutout innings, struck out a career-high 11 batters, and only gave up two hits. Oh yeah, he also hit his second home run of the season, which turned out to be the Brewers' only run in the 1-0 win.
Carlos Villanueva came on in the ninth to get the save for Gallardo. It was Villanueva's second save of the season.
The Brewers swept the Pirates and finally have a winning record at 11-10. They now will face the Arizona Diamondbacks in a four-game series starting tomorrow night at Miller Park.
With all the expectations that were placed upon Gallardo to start the season, it would have been very hard for him to live up to the hype. Thankfully for the Brewers and all their fans, Gallardo has exceeded every expectation that even the most optimistic fan might have had.
Gallardo has a record of 3-1, with 34 strikeouts in 34.2/3 innings so far this season. His ERA sits at a very good 2.86. He has four quality starts in five outings this year.
Gallardo's last three starts have truly been special. He is 2-0 in those starts, pitching 23 innings while allowing only two runs in that time.
He has struck out 25 batters in that time as well. Looking at those numbers, I can only think one thought, "CC who?"
Okay, although Sabathia has gotten off to a rough start in New York, that may be pushing it a little bit, but it does speak to just how great Gallardo is pitching this year. He is becoming that ace that everyone hoped he could be. He lacks no confidence in his abilities and fears no man at the plate.
The next challenge for Gallardo is to maintain this consistency for more than just one month. If June 1 rolls around and Gallardo has produced another month of stellar pitching performances, he will undoubtedly start to be talked about for an All-Star game appearance.
There are now rumblings that Gallardo is already a better pitcher than former Brewers' ace Ben Sheets ever was. The jury may still be out on that question, but one thing is true: if April is any indication for future success, Gallardo will be looking in the rear-view mirror at not only Sheets but every pitcher in Brewers' history.