Photo by ESTO
By Rich Mancuso
Assuming the Baltimore Orioles advance in their AL wildcard game Tuesday night up in Toronto, their righthander Yovani Gallardo will be on the mound in a best-of-five divisional series opposing the AL west champion Texas Rangers. The 30-year old Mexican from Penjamillo, Michoacan will be ready after a stint on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis.
Late Tuesday morning, manager Buck Showalter released his 25-man roster for the game and Gallardo was left off as one of ten pitchers. Assuming the Orioles advance, Gallardo should be in the plan for the ALDS.
Last Friday in New York, Gallardo had his eighth quality start of the season against the Yankees. He tossed 6.00 innings and gave up one run. It was his last start and seventh win of the season and Showalter monitored every pitch.
If the Orioles advance Tuesday night, it is Gallardo who will be counted upon to pitch his team deeper into October.
“He threw the ball well and that’s a good sign for us,” Showalter said. “His fastball was consistent and he is healthy now.” The four-seam fastball averaged 91, and Gallardo said, despite the ball slipping out of his hand on a nasty night in the Bronx,” I was able to keep control of the fastball.”
“Gallardo completed 6.0 innings in consecutive starts for the first time since August 5 and 10th. And in those starts, allowed two runs or fewer in three of his last four which shows signs that the right shoulder is fine. More so, Showalter and the Orioles, should they advance and play on, will need innings and the fastball.
“Felt good the last two starts,: Gallardo said. “When I find I’m in trouble, I am able to make the pitch. It’s a matter of going forward.”
And going forward is the plan. Showalter and the Orioles will make the decisions after the all hands on deck wildcard game. Indeed, if the Orioles advance, there is no doubt as to Gallardo getting the ball for a game two or three in the divisional series.
“I’m ready no matter what the situation is,” says Gallardo. “Throughout the year I have always been. You can ask anyone here. Nobody enjoys being on the DL, but when an injury happens there’s not much you can do. You try to get yourself in shape better than before and be as strong as you can.”
Gallardo told his teammates, manager, and conditioning coaches that he would be in condition and better than before. ‘They were up for it,” he said.”
Before the all-star break, Gallardo went 4-1. After the break it was a different story, 3-7 with an ERA around 5.00 which was a matter of concern. But those last two starts regained the confidence with his manager and a cause to have Gallardo on the postseason roster,
Gallardo signed through 2018 with an option, has gone 2-2 with a 2.32 ERA in six career postseason games. He last pitched in the postseason last October 8 at Toronto , then with Texas in Game 1 of the ALDS and tossed 6.0 innings on two runs and four hits.
That game got the Rangers a win. Now, he expects to be that contributor for the Orioles in October.