Yovani Gallardo’s troublesome 2011 campaign continued this afternoon as he allowed six earned runs on 10 hits and three walks, striking out three over five innings against the Cincinnati Reds. The results have been horrific, but here are a few points on Gallardo that may be worth noting.
Gallardo finally showed strikeout upside in his last start after failing to strike out more than five batters in any of his first four starts. Yes, he regressed this afternoon, but considering his K/9s of 9.89 and 9.73 the previous two seasons, you know he’s going to get things going in that department.
After struggling with his control over his first three starts (nine walks in 20 innings), he had walked just one in his previous two starts. Again, he regressed this afternoon.
He continued to be extremely hittable, having allowed at least seven hits in all but one of his starts.
The question is whether Gallardo can turn things around or not. While he was sporting a below-average BABIP of .310 and strand rate of 68.6 percent entering the day, those marks aren’t far off last season’s .324 and 69.8 marks.
While it’s possible he improves there, the key to Gallardo's success is the strikeouts.
Fewer balls in play represent fewer chances to score and the less impact BABIP has on your success. With a 5.73 K/9, poor luck makes it impossible to excel.
When the strikeouts turn around, the other numbers (5.70 ERA, 1.57 WHIP) will certainly fall into place.
In fact, there's no reason to think that Gallardo's strikeouts won’t come in time. His fastball has not lost any steam, averaging 92.1 miles per hour in his first five starts (the previous two seasons he was at 92.3 and 92.6). Don’t look there for an explanation to the slow start in the strikeout department.
Actually, a slow start in strikeouts is not uncommon for Gallardo. In 2010, he had five strikeouts in each of his first three starts, and only once more than five over his five April starts.
Sooner or later, Gallardo will start to bring the strikeout totals up and, if he can continue to show improved control (and maybe even get a little bit of luck), the sky truly is the limit. If someone in your league is a little discouraged by his slow start, now is certainly the time to strike.
We all know how good Gallardo is; it’s just a matter of waiting for him to actually show it.
What are your thoughts on Gallardo? Do you think he's going to turn things around? Why or why not?
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