During this not-quite-what-we-hoped-for year, one of the sunny spots has been Yovani Gallardo's pitching.
I share season tickets with a batch of guys, so I don't attend all 81 home games. (The couple that sits in front of me and my friend who drives down and back from Manitowoc, Wisc., are the only people I know who come close to attending every game.)
My syndicate divvies up the tickets, with me taking 41 games, and the other three splitting the rest. We pick the dates in March, without a clue which game will be the turning point in the season, which one might be THE most memorable game of the year, which one will send the Crew into postseason play, and which one will be a no-hitter or feature a walk-off grand slam.
Inevitably, once each member of the syndicate has a chance to see a good array of visiting teams, and I end up with a big batch in September. To my delight, this year it happened again. Here I am with tickets to seven of the nine home games left, when my Brewers have been WINNING!
By coincidence, I have seen Yovani pitch at least eight games, much more than any of the other pitchers. And if you check, as of Thursday, you'll notice Yovani has won fifteen games and lost just eight.
Without a complete record and my datebook in front of me to back me up, I'm going make this statement: Every time I have been at a game where Yovani Gallardo was pitching, the Brewers have won. I have not seen him lose a game all year.
In the past, I've written about Ben Sheets, a pitcher whom I idolized for his speed and accuracy of delivery. Yovani has many of the same characteristics. He doesn't dally on the mound, shaking off signs. With his smooth motion and even rhythm, every move looks easy. He gets the outs and marches back to the dugout.
AND he can hit! As of Thursday, Yovani Gallardo had 10 career home runs, which bumped him up to a tie for second place on the active list of home runs by pitchers who were pitching that game (a stat that is difficult to state without a cheat sheet). He shares second place on that list with Livan Hernandez, who is also on the Brewers pitching staff.
One more attribute: After a game, he gives a succinct but thorough interview to the sportscasters, sharing the credit with his teammates. It's easy to be a fan of a player like Yovani.