Sometimes, you just don’t have it. Just five days after he dominated the Cubs with a 10-strikeout performance, Yovani Gallardo dropped the ball (literally and figuratively) against the Red Sox.
Perhaps his first inning error got into his head, or maybe this was just one of those clunker starts we see from him every year. Whatever the reason, Gallardo couldn’t get a handle on any of his pitches. He tends to struggle when the corners aren’t being called for strikes, but that wasn’t a problem on Sunday — mostly because he couldn’t get the ball anywhere near a corner.
Fastballs were missing (very) high. Sliders were missing (very) low. But one of the biggest reasons the Red Sox beat him up was his curveball location (click to enlarge):
That’s a ton of pink dots in the top half of the strikezone, no? I counted eight, but it was perhaps the first one that hurt the most — the one he gave Kevin Youkilis that was drilled over the Green Monster, giving Boston a 3-0 lead before Gallardo even recorded an out. For the sake of comparison, he only really hung one against the Cubs.
Maybe he would have fared better against a different team, but Boston showed why they have one of the best offense in baseball. The lineup is stacked from top to bottom, and everyone is capable of hitting a mistake. It happens. It just happened at a bad time for Gallardo and the Brewers, with the bullpen already being beat up and overworked.