MILWAUKEE — For the vast majority of his first six seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, Yovani Gallardo has been a model of consistency.
The only pattern Gallardo has followed this season has been one of inconsistency. After another shaky start in Thursday afternoon’s 10-8 loss to San Diego, Gallardo was puzzled as to why he can’t put things together.
Coming off an outing in which he worked 6 1/3 scoreless innings against Miami last Saturday, Gallardo lasted just 3 2/3 innings Thursday, allowing six runs on eight hits.
“The ball was up in the zone from the first pitch of the game,” Gallardo said. “I was just catching too much of the plate. It was definitely frustrating especially coming after the start I had against the Marlins. I was able to keep the ball down and mix in pitches (against Miami). To then go out there and the ball is up in the zone, I have to make an adjustment, and I wasn’t able to do it today.”
Gallardo has made over 30 starts with an ERA no higher than 3.84 in each of the last five seasons. After Thursday, Gallardo’s ERA sits at 4.88, by far the highest of his career.
“I’m definitely frustrated,” Gallardo said. “I think this is one of those years where it’s been up and down non-stop. The years before I’ve had a few rough starts here and there, but I was able to make adjustments and go out there and set it past me and get some good starts in a row.
“It’s definitely frustrating. It’s getting to a point where I might be over thinking too much stuff when I’m out there on the mound. Sometimes you have to go back to the basics.”
How does a pitcher recover and stop over-thinking on the mound?
“It’s a lot easier said than done,” Gallardo said. “It’s just one of those things where you have to just forget about everything else and pitch to your strengths, pitch the way you are able to pitch, the way that got me here. I know what I can do well and that’s go out there and challenge hitters instead of trying to do too much.”
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke sees the frustration in his right-hander and is searching for answers to help Gallardo try and figure it out. Gallardo’s body language Thursday suggested he’s a pitcher in his own head and not pitching with much confidence.
“Whether it’s trying to help him mechanically or get him positive again and more aggressive,” Roenicke said. “For whatever reason, he’s missing in his zones, but one thing he’s always been consistent with is when he throws a fastball, if he misses it’s usually by inches. It’s not by inches all the time this year and that gets frustrating for him. But he comes back and you’ll see him locked in again in his next outing. I don’t know why he’s been as inconsistent as he has been this year but we need to get him back on track.”
One of many Brewers players scouts have been flooding to Miller Park to evaluate with the trade deadline looming next Wednesday, Gallardo didn’t do anything to help his trade value Thursday.
While Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said Tuesday he’s not motivated to move Gallardo, Milwaukee still needs Gallardo to pitch better if it decides to keep him.
Between losing their franchise player to a season-ending suspension, trading their closer and losing three-of-four to San Diego, the Brewers have had a tough week.
“It’s been tough the whole year, to be honest with you,” Gallardo said. “I know I sound like a broken record but you just have to show up and play tomorrow. We still have a lot more left of the season. We have to finish off the season strong and just keep battling.”
Roster move: The Brewers optioned first baseman Sean Halton to Triple-A Nashville following Thursday’s 10-8 loss to San Diego.
Right-hander Rob Wooten will have his contract purchased from Nashville, joining the Brewers in Colorado for Friday night’s game against the Rockies. Wooten will be the ninth player to make his big league debut for the Brewers this season.
Halton, 26, hit .200 with a home run and two RBI in 45 at-bats since being called up June 26. The Brewers have decided to give Juan Francisco an extended look at first base, leaving Halton as the odd man out when the club decided it needed an extra bullpen arm for the time being.
“It’s a part of the game, especially guys getting their first shot at the big leagues usually involves some up and down,” Halton said. “I’m happy to be one of those guys. That’s just part of it. You just do what you can and try to get back up as soon as you can.”
With the series coming up in Colorado and a doubleheader in Chicago on Tuesday, Roenicke feels carrying an extra pitcher will help.
Wooten, 28, was Milwaukee’s 13th round pick in the 2008 first-year draft out of the University of North Carolina. Serving as Nashville’s closer, Wooten is 0-1 with a 2.94 ERA and 20 saves in 52 innings for the Sounds this seasons.
In five minor league seasons, Wooten is 10-8 with a 2.88 ERA and 78 saves.
“He’s got a nice cutter, locates the ball well,” Roenicke said. “He doesn’t walk a lot of people. He throws strikes. You can trust him to come into a game and put the ball over the plate. He’s done a really nice job this year. His numbers have been really good, he’s saved a lot of games and he doesn’t mind being in that pressure situation.”