Is Gallardo Actually Healthy?

August 13, 2010: Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo (49), completes seven innings during action between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, Denver, Colorado. Rockies defeat the Brewers 5-4.

Tonight’s game isn’t even over yet, and while it’ll no longer be his fault if the Brewers lose, this question is bound to come up in the next 24 hours.  How sure are we that everything is okay when it comes to Yovani Gallardo‘s oblique?

I’d say he’s been inconsistent since returning from the disabled list, but that’d be putting it nicely.  Outside of a couple of good outings against very poor teams in the Pirates and Cubs, the numbers have been uncharacteristically bad since his return.

Before suffering the oblique injury on the 4th of July: 8-4, 2.58 ERA, 111.2 IP, 32 ER, 112 K, 48 BB, .626 OPS against, 1.773 WPA.

Those numbers aren’t just good, they’re Cy Young contender good.

After that point, heading into Friday’s start?  3-1, 4.55 ERA, 27.2 IP, 14 ER, 32 K, 7 BB, .720 OPS against, -0.099 WPA.  Add in his line against the Padres, and you have an ERA of 5.81 in 31 IP, with 33 K and 12 BB.  His WPA in Friday night’s start alone was -0.558.

To me, the lack of control has been especially worrisome.  You had a feeling things wouldn’t go well for Yo when he was hanging curveballs in the first inning.  Here are the pitch f/x strikezone plots for the home runs hit by Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley that inning:

Gonzalez

Headley

Yo hung those curveballs to Gonzalez and Headley just about as badly as you can hang a breaking pitch — almost exactly in the middle of the zone, and both were almost in the same exact spot.

Am I overreacting a bit?  Gallardo’s numbers likely would have come back down to earth even without the oblique injury, but considering the Brewers pushed him back long before I was comfortable with the idea, I’m probably just quick to blame it on that.  Still, the fact that he’s given up 14 runs in his past three starts with nine walks makes me worried.

I do think it’s important that the Brewers continue to gradually increase Yo’s yearly innings workload, but at this rate, I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea of possibly shutting him down in mid-September — especially if we see more outings like tonight’s.

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