The Brewers just don't have any luck. Yesterday I gave young Yovani Gallardo an honorary mention for Player of the Game because he got back on the mound after a sick play that appeared to hyper extend the knee. Imagine standing straight with your knees locked, planting your foot into the ground and pushing all your body weight against the knee cap. You just don't bend that way. After a few minutes on the ground Gallardo walked around, and then talked manager Ned Yost and sports trainer Roger Caplinger into letting him stay in the game. Gallardo proceeded to toss 2.2 more innings in the game, giving up two runs in the 6th. So he's got to be fine right?
No. An MRI today revealed that the future Brewers ace has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right leg. This is devastating for the Brewers, who with Gallardo and Sheets in the lineup had two legitimate aces anchoring the rotation. Instead, the Brewers will likely replace Yo with recently optioned Dave Bush, who has been anything but enjoyable to watch. But the more important question is will Yovani recover well enough to be the same pitcher. He recently came off left knee surgery to fix a torn meniscus and now has two legs that need recovering. With two surgically repaired knees, the driving force and balance that is required in pitching may be a difficult task to overcome, but age is in his favor. Yo is only 22 years old and already showed his healing power by returning to the mound two weeks earlier than anticipated after his first surgery. This one is a bit more major though and will ultimately take at least 6-8 months just to get back on to the mound. On the bright side: At least it's not Tommy John.
So what does that do to the Brewers in the long run? I hate to say it, but it really takes them out of contention for the division. You may think that one starter shouldn't make the difference, but in the end replacing Gallardo with the likes of Dave Bush is taking 8-10 wins away from the team. This is more than enough to put them below .500 or just barely above it. Though the Cubs lost another series to the Brewers, there's no doubt they are a force to reckon with and will have well over 90 wins. The Cardinals will not stick around for long as their pitching won't make it a whole season giving the Brewers a chance, but you have to believe there will be at least two teams in the NL East that will amass more than 90 wins as well, knocking the Brewers from their potential pedestal.
To defend my theory, let's look at what that spot in the rotation has done. Yovani leaves the Brewers with a 0-0 record and a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings and three starts. Though the Brewers went 1-2 in those games, Gallardo was hardly the problem. He left with a tie in both losses going seven innings in both with a 1-1 and 0-0 game. Failed bats doomed both of those losses and almost doomed the last one. Dave Bush accumulated a 6.75 ERA in his four starts with the Crew going 0-3. During that time the Crew went 1-4. Of those four starts, only one was a quality start, and none of them made it to the 7th inning, with the exception of the Phillies game where he pitched to one batter in the 7th and gave up a double. The one win the Brewers accumulated was a come from behind 5-4 victory that came on Prince's second HR of the night. So basically Bush pitched well in one of his four starts. Gallardo pitched extremely well in two of his starts and okay in his last start. Gallardo would have averaged about 6.5 to 7.0 innings per start while Dave Bush will continue to put 5-6 per start. There are still roughly 27 starts left for this position. If I add one loss for every four starts we'll say, that's eight wins. But there are residual effects. On average, the Brewers bullpen will have to pitch one extra inning per game without Gallardo, which is at least 27 more innings for them to amass. Remember last year's tired staff?
It's coming. It sucks. I'm disheartened, but I will still hang on to every pitch. I will still go to 40 games this year. And I will still root for my team while I "Boo" Dave Bush. The expectations have been lowered, but you still have to love your team.