The Reality Of Yovani Gallardo

If the postseason started tomorrow, Yovani Gallardo would not be in the Rangers' playoff rotation.

The club's de facto #1 starter in the first half, Yovani has been the best-case scenario in a run prevention sense, posting a 3.41 ERA (4.36 xFIP) while soaking up 174.1 IP over 31 starts this year. Barring utter devastation at Yo's expense over his last 2-3 starts, I don't envision any Texas fans regretting Gallardo's one year here. 

But if we're projecting forward, in the starting five there's no place to put him. Cole Hamels and Derek Holland would take Game One and Game Two, Martin Perez likely Game Three, and Colby Lewis -- the best postseason pitcher in franchise history -- for Game Four. When Texas traded for Yovani they were looking for a mid-rotation pitcher, which is what his ERA indicates he is, but he isn't any more reliable than a 4th or 5th starter at this point in the season. 

Largely, Gallardo's ability to miss bats has all but diminished. At his peak -- between 2009-'12 -- this was a guy striking out roughly a quarter of the batters he faced. In 2015 his strikeout rate has dipped to a career-worst 14.9% (compared to a career 21.5% K rate), and his Swinging Strike rate has fallen to a career-low 6.4% (lifetime 8%). With three lefties capable of shutting down the opposition, the final playoff rotation spot comes down to Cobra and Yovani, and I don't really see a strong argument for the latter.

All said, I didn't write this tonight because Gallardo took the loss in a game against the Mariners earlier. It just reminded me. Since Houston ended up falling at home to the A's, Texas loses no ground on the West, so we'll just wash our hands and get ready for tomorrow.