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Brewers Tap Gallardo for Game One

From David Murphy at High Cheese

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Brewers are going to throw young righty Yovani Gallardo against Cole Hamels in Game One on Wednesday. A very interesting move. Stuff wise, this guy is probably the second-best pitcher on the staff. He went 9-5 last season with a 3.67 ERA in 20 starts. The Mexican-born 22-year-old was considered one of the top young pitchers in the game, but he has made just four starts this season. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in spring training, then aggravated the injury early this season. He made his first start since May on Sept. 25, allowing one run on three hits in four innings before leaving after 67 pitches.

The move has a couple of benefits for the Brewers. First of all, the Phillies haven't seen Gallardo at all this season. They faced him once last season, when he held them to one run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings on Aug. 3. But Gallardo has pitched just one game since May, and he has never pitched in the playoffs before.

Gallardo is an ace-quality pitcher whose May injury, ironically enough, arguably created the need to go get CC Sabathia. He came up huge last Thursday in his first start after a layoff of more than four months. That he threw 67 pitches in four innings offers the hint for how the Phils will have to go at him: with patience. It's not that Gallardo is wild--he's never walked more than three in a big-league start--but as a young strikeout pitcher, he's generally not super-efficient. At age 22, coming off the long layoff, it's hard to believe the Brewers would let him throw more than 90 pitches at the absolute most. The Brewers' bullpen isn't bad--their collective 3.83 ERA was fourth in the NL this season--but they will give the Phils shots. Even if Gallardo is lights-out, it's a winnable game for that reason.