Is Yovani Gallardo An All-Star?
As June winds down thoughts turn to the All-Star Game and the debating begins as to who is in and who is out. As of last week Ryan Braun leads National League outfielders and will be a starter. Prince Fielder's power numbers are there but first base is crowded as usual with Albert Pujols leading the way, followed by Adrian Gonzalez, Joey Votto and Ryan Howard. A trip to Anaheim doesn't appear to be in the future for Fielder.
But what about Yovani Gallardo? A little more than a month ago Gallardo had a 3-2 record with a 3.20 ERA. Not exactly the stuff worthy of an All-Star roster spot. Yo has turned it up in his last six starts, going 3-1 while dropping his ERA to a stellar 2.36. More importantly, and not just for All-Star's sake, Gallardo has padded his innings pitched with two complete games.
Last year the National League had eight starting pitchers with Zach Duke later added as a replacement player. So let's assume the NL carries nine starters. Is Gallardo among the top nine? Well at this point Colorado's Ubaldo Jiminez (13-1, 1.60 ERA), Florida's Josh Johnson (8-3, 1.83 ERA) and Adam Wainwright (10-5, 2.47 ERA) of St. Louis appear to be locks. That's three guys. Gallardo is second in the NL in strikeouts and fifth in ERA but tied among several at 16th in wins. Roy Halladay has more wins and a lower ERA. Tim Hudson also has more wins and is one one-hundredth of a point behind Gallardo in ERA. Jaime Garcia doesn't have nearly as many strikeouts but a superior ERA. Can't forget about Tim Lincecum's 117 strikeouts to go with an 8-3 record. How about Mike Pelphrey's gaudy 10-2 record? Or Chris Carpenter at 9-1? You could go crazy poring through the plethora of stats available on starting pitchers.
Of course, there's always the unknowns. Will manager Charlie Manuel actually take Washington phenom Stephen Strasburg? The Cubs appear to have an All-Star in outfielder Marlon Byrd but he may lose the spot to Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen or Arizona's Justin Upton, thus fulfilling baseball's every-team-is-represented rule. If so starting pitcher Carlos Silva may get the nod ahead of Gallardo.
Thanks to a stellar June Gallardo's numbers make him a legitimate All-Star candidate as well as a legitimate ace who can be counted on for more than six innings. Charlie Manuel has some tough decisions ahead of him but that's the fun part of late June and the great All-Star debate.