June was a good month for Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo. He pitched 33.1 innings allowing just two runs for an ERA of 0.54. This number is the lowest a pitcher has ever had in a month for the Rangers Franchise. The previous record was 0.66 by Kenny Rogers in May of 1995. This was also the lowest ERA for the month of June by an American League pitcher since the beginning of the designated hitter.
Gallardo also had 23.1 inning scoreless streak to end the month. His performance against the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday was masterful as he was putting the ball wherever he wanted to. This was the sharpest we had seen Gallardo this season. He was inviting contact from a powerful Blue Jays lineup that includes Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. The at-bat where he had me amazed was in the seventh inning when he got Encarnacion to hit a ball back to him that “looked like a toss from the umpire,” according to Steve Busby.
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Gallardo was historically good, but what does that mean for the Rangers and their fans? Watch him every chance you get. When the team acquired him this offseason I was excited about the acquisition of a local player. He was born in Mexico, but attended Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth. He was supposed to be the team’s third starter this season and has stepped up with injuries to Yu Darvish and Derek Holland. His ERA on the season has come down to 2.72, a respectable ERA for a number one starter. He isn’t the same pitcher that he was with Milwaukee. He took some time to adjust to pitching in the AL, but is now better than he was for the Brewers. What adjustments has he made?
Yovani Gallardo is pitching to contact now. In the past he was a power pitcher who went for strikeouts in every at bat. He now has the highest groundball rate of his career at 53.1% according to Fangraphs. He is getting more contact from batters but has less velocity and more movement than he has had in the past. This has led to him reaping the rewards of his groundball rate. The batting average balls in play (BABIP) against Gallardo this season is .264. This is an improvement over the best season of his career for BABIP which was 2009 in which opposing hitters had a .275 against him. This is due to the movement on his pitches and the late break on them. He has a ground ball to fly ball ratio of 2.28 which is the 16th best in the MLB this season. This rate is important at Globe Life Park because it is still a ballpark that there are lots of home runs hit in despite the loss of the jetstream.
If you aren’t sold on Yovani Gallardo yet as a Rangers fan, you should be. For him this is a dream season, he got to come home, is pitching the best that he as in his career and is rewriting record books for the club that he grew up cheering for. He is a free agent this offseason, and if he is able to put more month together that resemble this month, he will command big money. For now, enjoy what you are watching, we may never see a stretch like this from a Rangers pitcher again.