Yovani quietly put together a strikingly odd season in which he set a new personal best for ERA (3.51, shattering his previous record of 3.52) and, simultaneously, his worst mark in the win column (8). Man, it's almost like wins don't mean a whole hell of a lot. Another gut punch to the dead horse.
Gallardo continued an admirable run of consistency as a Brewer in 2014, posting a line of no surprises in comparison to 2013 in particular. He did not rebound to his typically excellent 9ish K/9 he enjoyed from 2009-2012, instead further sinking from 7.2 in 2013 to 6.8 in 2014. However, he compensated for it with a career best 2.5 BB/9 and a career high GB% (50.8). If you are curious: his velocity actually saw an uptick in velocity from a year ago, with his fastball coming in nearly a full mph harder (92.24, + 0.7, + 0.86 on the sinker)
I noted Gallardo's low win count despite his effectiveness, and the following statistic greatly contributes to the discrepancy: the Brewers lost four games in which their starting pitcher finished at least 6 innings allowing 0 runs (including unearned). Gallardo started three of them (Garza had the other). The worst instance came on September 19th in Pittsburgh when Gallardo struck out 11 Pirates through 7 shutout frames, only to watch Jonathan Broxton give up four runs in the 8th inning, turning a 2-run lead into a 2-run deficit, which felt like a Wayne Larrivee dagger in the Brewers' 2014 campaign.
In Gallardo's case, I feel no shame going with the gut here - even though WPA *nearly* backs me up on this (.468 WPA for 7.2 shutout innings vs. the Mets on July 25th, .440 WPA for the following performance).
Gallardo's finest moment in a Brewers uniform in 2014 came from a game in which he did not throw a pitch. The Brewers blew a 5-run lead to the Baltimore Orioles on May 27th, and it took a bleeding Jonathon Lucroy RBI single to force the game into extra innings. With 2 outs and nobody aboard in the bottom of the 10th, Buck Schowalter intentionally walked Mark Reynolds with Francisco Rodriguez on deck. The banged up Brewers' short bench was spent. With no position players left to pinch hit, Ron Roenicke turned to Gallardo:
Yo just completed the final year of his guaranteed contract, but the Brewers can and likely will exercise a $13 million option (600k buyout) to keep him around for one more season. Derek noted back in September that Jon Heyman is confident the Brewers will pick up the option, and there is little reason to think the Brewers would act otherwise. Each year, Yo subtracts a couple of "ifs." That is a rare talent in the baseball world.
Previous MVBrewers posts can be seen at the links below, or in their own dedicated section: