News Forum Blogs Roster Players Schedule Depth chart Stats Videos Photos

Milwaukee Brewers News

News » Becoming an anchor man &t

Becoming an anchor man &t

Becoming an anchor man &t
When CC Sabathia got an offer he couldn't refuse and decided to take his wares to the New York Yankees in the off-season, finding someone to take the top spot in the rotation went right to the top of the Milwaukee Brewers' list of concerns.

After being acquired in early July last season, Sabathia practically put the Brewers on his back and helped the Brewers return to the playoffs for the first time in 26 years.

Replacing a top starter is as tough a task as a general manager can have.

But the Brewers had an ace in waiting.

Yovani Gallardo didn't quite get to that "quality start" plateau of six innings pitched allowing three or fewer earned runs in the Brewers' 12-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park on Saturday night. But after seven starts, there is little doubt Gallardo has comfortably slipped into the role of staff ace.

A high pitch count limited Gallardo to just five innings against the Cubs, but in allowing just two runs on five hits he was still good enough to claim his fourth victory in five decisions.

With Gallardo and Dave Bush leading the way with five quality starts each, the Brewers entered Saturday night with the most quality starts in the majors with 18.

While his outing Saturday night didn't qualify as a "quality start," it still left an impression on manager Ken Macha.

"He was up over 100 pitches in five innings and I kind of look at his outing today as similar to one he had in New York," Macha said. "He really didn't have good control of his curveball in New York and about the fourth inning he found it. He didn't find it today and he was out there pitching off his fastball and they battled him hard.

"And he battled back. That's a good sign when you don't have all your stuff and you only give up two runs in five innings."

Gallardo threw 21 pitches in the first inning despite allowing just one walk, then wiggled his way out of a jam with men on first and third with nobody out in the second inning.

Micah Hoffpauir led off with a double and moved to third on Geovany Soto's infield single.

Gallardo buckled down from there, striking out Mike Fontenot looking and Bobby Scales swinging - both on fastballs - before getting pitcher Ryan Dempster on a fly to center.

"That was a very important inning," Gallardo said. "We were able to score two runs in the bottom of the first, so just going out there and putting up the zero (was important).

"I was able to make pitches when I needed to."

The outing impressed catcher Jason Kendall.

"He has that extra gear," Kendall said. "The guys I remember that have that extra gear were guys like (Curt) Schilling and Randy Johnson, where when you needed that 94 or 95 (mph) you had it. That's what he did tonight. He can be a good one for a long time."

Gallardo pitched around two walks in the third and a double and a walk in the fourth. He finally seemed ready to settle down in the fifth, needing just five pitches to retire the first two hitters. But Milton Bradley blooped a single to right, and Hoffpauir ripped the next pitch for his third homer of the year to pull the Cubs within 3-2.

Gallardo was done after five innings and 105 pitches, but even far from his best he left with the lead.

"The way I look at it is it builds confidence for myself and the team," Gallardo said of surviving without his best.

With Sabathia and Ben Sheets gone, Gallardo was asked if he believes he can be the staff ace.

"I would like to be," he said. "Like I've been saying before, I think every starter in here would like to be at one point in their career.

"But as of right now I'm just going to go out there and pitch and try to do everything positive to get the team a win."

At just 23 years old, Gallardo has shown the composure of a seasoned veteran.

"His intensity level gets really high when he's out there on the mound. . . and when he's hitting," Macha said before the game. "He's got a way of controlling and using his emotions to his advantage as compared to having them interfere with his performance."

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 10, 2009

Milwaukee Brewers Photos
All the latest Milwaukee Brewers Photos Store photographs. Major League Baseball MLB.
The most recent photo
Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Windows Live

Copyright ©, Inc. All rights reserved 2008.