Gallardo’s Selective Struggles vs St. Louis Cardinals
Baseball stats don’t lie. A poor ERA usually means a pitcher has lacked consistency or control of his pitches. But how do you explain the phenomenon of a pitcher who is selectively struggling against just one team?
You can’t argue that Gallardo is not still the Brewers ace, yet his numbers against St. Louis, both home and away, show otherwise. Yo sits at a 6.08 ERA after five games. Nothing spectacular. But if you remove his two starts against the Cards, he rocks an impressive 1.71 in 21 innings pitched. I’m definitely not a math genius, but it’s pretty easy to see that a 22.24 ERA against St. Louis (36.00 against them at Busch) is a serious casualty to his season average. This is not shocking to Brewers fans who have become accustomed to Gallardo struggles against the Cards. Last year he went 1-4 with a 5.70 ERA against them.
So what IS Gallardo’s issue pitching against arguably the Crew’s biggest rival?
- Pitchers can’t get out of their own head. I’ve met a lot of players in my days working in the Northwoods League and with various college teams and I haven’t met a single pitcher who doesn’t go through a rough mental patch after giving up a lead, or walking multiple batters. It’s part of the way a pitcher is wired, the analytical nature of their position that requires focus and attention to their surroundings, other players on the field, and the strategy behind each and every pitch. Keeping these thoughts in check while maintaining control of the current situation is what makes for a strong mental game. In Gallardo’s case, every batter he faces on the Cards may be its own painful memory of a hit that caused them to lose the lead. He’s lost five consecutive regular-season starts against the Cardinals, and with each game it seems to get worse and worse. At this point, his mental block may be almost crippling.
- Gallardo has faced St. Louis twice in three weeks. The more times a batter and pitcher face each other… advantage goes to the batter, and man, April’s schedule has been filled with the hitters of St. Louis. Gallardo is generally known for a low-to-mid 90s fastball, a slider and a less frequently thrown curve. Batters who see a pitcher struggling will take advantage of mistakes, curveballs that are left up, and fastballs down the middle lacking his normal velocity. With each Cardinals’ batter facing Gallardo 3-5 times in early April and then again three weeks later… I’d say, advantage Freese, Molina and Jay.
- St. Louis is a solidly offensive team. Even without Pujols, the Cardinals have been generating some serious offense this season. Coming off tremendous momentum from last season, the Cardinals have continued their hot streak and currently lead the NL Central by three games. It seems like every player is contributing, with six of their starters batting over .300. Freese alone has 25 hits, 20 RBI, and 5 homeruns. (Luckily, his hot streak is keeping me at the top of my fantasy league)
Bottom line, it’s still early, and Yo is nothing if not dependable. His numbers against the Cubs, Dodgers and Rockies looked great, so hopefully he can put those disastrous outings in the past and keep doing what we’ve come to expect out of him. Plus thankfully, he has the next 2 ½ months to forget about the Cards before he has to face them again in mid-July.
Featured Image Credit: Associated Press/JSOnline