Yet again, Yovani Gallardo didn’t look like himself, and now it’s getting concerning.
The usually reliable Gallardo put together another frustrating outing Friday night against Cincinnati, throwing 100 pitches while lasting just four innings, walking five and allowing three runs in Milwaukee’s 4-3 loss to the Reds.
“Command obviously sucked,” Gallardo said. “It was one of things that my mechanics were out of whack. There’s no defense against walks. Obviously that hurt me today. To start the game off with a walk, that’s never a good sign.”
Not only did Gallardo battle his command yet again, the right-hander’s fastball velocity topped at just 91 mph. With Friday being his eight start of the season, Gallardo has had two starts that weren’t a battle. While Gallardo has traditionally started slow, the mix of command issues and decreased velocity indicates something is off.
“I don’t know, he says he’s fine,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “I don’t know why that is. He says he’s fine. He’s throwing all of his pitches. He seems to recover the next day OK. So, I don’t know why.”
Gallardo gave up a pair of two-out runs in the third inning, but the frame started with a leadoff walk to Reds centerfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Gallardo was able to get two outs, but Choo stole second and scored on a base hit by Brandon Phillips. Jay Bruce followed with a double that hit off Norichika Aoki’s glove in right field, making it 2-0.
“It’s tough,” Gallardo said. “You feel right for a few hitters and make a few good pitches but then you fall out of it right away. Those are the type of games where you are just battling. You have to keep battling. I knew I wasn’t going to go deep in the game when I had all of those walks. It’s not easy.”
The Brewers quickly tied the game with back-to-back home runs by Jean Segura and Ryan Braun to lead off the fourth inning, but Gallardo gave the lead right back when Zack Cosart flared a two-out single to right to score Donald Lutz.
“No matter what I have to go out there and put up a zero,” Gallardo said. “No matter what the situation is, no matter if I’m struggling, I have to do everything possible to put up a zero after we tie the game.
“That’s just how it was going. When you see (Cozart’s hit) falling in, I made a pretty good pitch and then he put the barrel on it and he gets a base hit out of it.”
With the Brewers opening a 10-game road trip without a day off, Gallardo’s short start wasn’t what the Brewers needed. With 33 games over 34 days, the Brewers can’t have starters exit early or the bullpen is going to be taxed like it was at the beginning of the season.
“It gets to a point, him throwing (100) pitches in four innings is not what he normally does,” Roenicke said. “I know he’s not a guy that’s going to go nine innings and throw 80 pitches but it’s unusual for him to do that. Usually the command part is pretty good. I don’t know why it was off today.
“He struggled the whole time. I would have loved for him to have been able to go back out there for the fifth inning but I can’t do it when he throws that many pitches in two consecutive innings.”