(Image: Marc Serota/Getty Images)
With the trade deadline just about a month away, and the chances of the Brewers going on a 20-game winning streak…unlikely, shall we say…it’s understandable fans are thinking about how different the team might look by August. One name that’s been tossed around quite a bit is Yovani Gallardo.
Colin Bennett at Reviewing the Brew has an amusing “Kill Your Darlings” post on Gallardo as trade bait, the point of which is to “a certain amount of emotional distance” between fans and beloved players who might be on their way out. For a different perspective, here are the rollercoaster of emotions that a fan (like me) might go through if they are more prone to heartbreak.
I fondly recall Yo’s first start…
I remember it like it was six years ago. I had just gotten back into the Brewers after not really following them closely since Molitor left. I re-dedicated myself to watching every game and listening on the radio, but I still didn’t attend many games. All this talk about the Brewer’s top pitching prospect making his debut was enough to drag me and a couple friends out on a Monday. This was before StubHub was a thing, so we ended up in the last bloody row of the Terrace Level. It was hot but also rainy, so the roof was closed and Miller Park was a sweat box. This Gallardo guy not only had a quality start, but he hit an RBI double in his first at-bat. It was something at first sight that might as well have been love.
…but it seems like he can’t ever go deep into games…
It feels like it’s not rare for Yo to barely make it through five innings. You can almost hear the echo of Bill Schroeder’s voice saying, “strikeout pitchers get into a lot of deep counts…” So far this season, he’s had only eight quality starts out of 17. (Looking at past seasons, it actually doesn’t look like Gallardo has had an inordinate amount of four-inning, 100-pitch starts. That’s emotional reactions for you.)
…but Gallardo was awesome against the Diamondbacks in the NLDS…
The Brewers had won their first division title since dinosaurs roamed the earth. In Game 1, Yo went eight innings and gave up one run. In Game 5, he went six and gave his team a chance to win in its most gut-wrenching game in nearly 30 years. Yo was instrumental in the Brewers winning their first postseason series since 1982. Thinking about it makes me smile.
…but dammit, Yo can’t beat the blasted Cardinals…
For Brewers fans, it’s fair to say winning against the Cardinals is the more important than winning against any other team. Gallardo is 1-10 against the Cardinals with a 6.78 ERA. Why must you hurt me by pitching so poorly against St. Louis, Yo?
…but Gallardo had one magical game at a key moment in my life.
In April 2009, I had just lost my job, and was feeling uncertain about the future. As I saw it, the one advantage of being unemployed was that I could attend weekday afternoon games at Miller Park. The first one I went to that year was against the Pirates. That day, Gallardo pitched eight shutout innings, and hit a solo homer, which would be the only run of the game. Yo came as close as a player can to winning a game single-handedly. I got a new job at the end of summer, but at that game in April, seeing the Brewers win was about the only thing I had going for me. I’ll always love Gallardo for that.
If Gallardo is traded this year, I’ll get over it. But I’d be lying if I said Yo won’t take a piece of my heart with him.