Gallardo is latest Orioles' starter to reward Showalter's trust -
Dan Connolly

Gallardo is latest Orioles’ starter to reward Showalter’s trust

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

Once again, Orioles manager Buck Showalter decided to give a veteran pitcher another start when he could have chosen a safer – or more popular — option.

And, once again, that pitcher came through.

On Friday, it was 30-year-old Yovani Gallardo, whose uneven season had led to a 5.62 ERA in 22 starts for the Orioles in 2016.

Showalter could have given the ball instead to rookie Dylan Bundy on Friday, especially since Gallardo’s numbers against the New York Yankees (1-3 with a 7.62 ERA in five career starts) weren’t appealing. The last time Gallardo faced the Yankees, on Aug. 26 in the Bronx, he gave up seven earned runs while recording just four outs.

So if Showalter had skipped his veteran right-hander with the season on the line, it would have been understandable. But he’s extended further opportunities to Ubaldo Jimenez and Wade Miley in the last two months, and this time it was Gallardo’s turn for some managerial faith.

Gallardo answered the call in a steady rain on a miserable Friday night, yielding just one run on two hits and four walks through six innings in the Orioles’ 8-1 victory.

It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. And that is kind of vintage Gallardo, who has four quality starts in his last seven outings, including two consecutive.

“It’s been like that the past few games, we’ve been getting some real solid starts,” Showalter said. “Our guys gave him some margin for error. I thought when we scored the six (in the fifth inning), for him to go out there and throw a zero up there that was big. We were a wet ball away from him pitching six shutout innings.”

Because they won and the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays, the Orioles are alone atop the AL Wild Card standings with just two games remaining. They are one game ahead of the Blue Jays and 1 ½ games ahead of the Detroit Tigers.

“This past week or so every one’s important,” Gallardo said. “Every game’s really important for us and we understand what we have to do.”

Perhaps more pertinent for Gallardo, this performance helped keep his chances alive to make the postseason roster. Or strengthened them anyway.

If the Orioles get to the American League Division Series, you have to assume — because they only need three/four starters — one of the club’s back-end members of the rotation won’t make the roster: Gallardo, Miley or Bundy.

I can’t imagine Bundy and his big arm will be left off, especially because he’s had success out of the bullpen this year.

So you can make the case that Gallardo was pitching for the playoffs Friday in more ways than one. And he handled himself well in difficult conditions (against a depleted Yankees’ lineup).

“No matter what the situation is, whenever I’m asked upon to go out there and pitch, I’m going to go out there and pitch,” Gallardo said. “There are certain things that I can’t control. The only thing I can do is go out there and do the most that I can for the guys playing behind me out on the field. It’s whatever comes down with that, we all just want to win. We want to win no matter what the situations. We’re all one group.”

Miley will get his opportunity to perform Saturday. As the only lefty, he might have the edge, especially if he pitches the way he has in his past two starts (12 2/3 innings, one run).

But Gallardo certainly did enough to stay in the conversation.

“I’ve been feeling good. In my past two starts, I’ve been throwing the ball pretty well,” Gallardo said. “So we’ll see.”



  1. claudecat

    October 1, 2016 at 1:32 am

    It’s really been remarkable how well these guys that once scared the bejeezus outta me have done, in settings where their track records are abysmal to boot! Ubaldo, Gallardo, Miley, even Tillman and Gausman, rewarding Buck’s faith over and over again. It’s starting to feel a lot like magic!

    Next up, Miley. He pitches another near-complete game and I may have to start buying those O’s scratch-offs. I mean, seriously… this is beginning to get spooky! But so so satisfying, especially with the Jays going down in indignant and pouty flames.

    • bigdaddydk

      October 1, 2016 at 8:09 am

      Nothing would make me happier than to see the Jays collapse in a season-ending sweep against Boston and Detroit get into the playoffs as the low WC, then have them in OPACY for the WC play-in game. There’s almost never a bad time for the Jays to lose, IMHO.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 1, 2016 at 10:00 am

      I’ve stopped trying to figure them out. I’ve always thought this group was good. A playoff-type team. But they’ve been so up and down its hard to know what team shows up. That, of course, could mean a quick playoff flameout or a long run. How’s that for analysis?

  2. Bancells Moustache

    October 1, 2016 at 7:08 am

    This gets into tin-foil hat territory, but I’ll explain nonetheless: both Gallardo and Jimenez are liabilities in the playoffs through no fault of their own. Both of their games are predicated on nibbling at the edges and corners of the strike zone. Should the umpire take that away, they are toast. Why does this matter? As I write this, every person with any influence whatsoever over MLB, be they at the Commissioners office, media network board rooms or corporate sponsor skyscrapers, all of them are listening to Marvin Gaye and touching themselves with one single fantasy arousing them: a Chicago Cubs-Boston Red Sox World Series. Do you really think that, with the amount of revenue and exposure that would generate, MLB has any interest in substituting ‘Big Papi’s glorious swan song’ with a team they are engaged in a legal fight with that couldn’t sell half the seats in the middle of a pennant race? There is no way the Orioles get any calls in a Boston- O’s ALCS. They are going to have to beat the Sox with the power arm guys who have the ability to challenge Ortiz and company in the strike zone. Again, call it a conspiracy theory if you will, but am I that far out in the weeds when you think about?

    • eddienj

      October 1, 2016 at 8:54 am

      Very interesting. Do you think the umpires will have a tighter zone? Or they will squeeze just the pitchers not on the Sox or Cubs? I’m not trying to downplay your theory. I see some merit in it. I’m wondering if that were to actually happen what would Buck do? I don’t see him standing there and doing nothing about it. Your theory is very interesting nonetheless. Now if we do end up playing the Sox I’m going to be looking at the square box graphic with laser eyes all night!

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 1, 2016 at 9:44 am

      You sir, are a genius.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 1, 2016 at 10:03 am

      Every time we think it sets up for the money of the game. I bring you Kansas City. I bring you the Rays in the World Series against the big-money Phillies. Not saying it can’t happen. But watch a Texas-SF World Series or something muck up the works.

  3. bigdaddydk

    October 1, 2016 at 8:11 am

    I really like being wrong about O’s pitching, especially the back end of the rotation guys. I’ve been a vocal critic of Miley, Gallardo, and Jimenez all season long, and I’m ready to sit down to a plate heaped high with crow to start chowing down. I am still not sold on them, but I’m happy with the recent results.

  4. RagingC

    October 1, 2016 at 9:51 am

    In Buck we trust.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 1, 2016 at 10:04 am

      He sure does seem to work magic every September.

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