David Pinto on the game's latest hitting sensation:
- Yovani Gallardo hit a three-run homer off Randy Johnson Wednesday night, propelling the Brewers and Gallardo to a 4-2 victory. Both pitched well, Johnson showing his great control, striking out seven while walking one. He gave up two home runs, however, and that was the difference in the game. That's where Randy's game suffered the most as he's aged. Through 2004, his last year in Arizona [before joining the Yankees], Johnson allowed 17.9 home runs per 200 innings. Since, however, that's gone up to 27.5 per 200 innings.
Gallardo's home run was the third of his short career, and he's now slugging .490. He's the next Micah Owings.
Update: It turns out Gallardo was the first pitcher to homer off Johnson.
Pinto's right about the home runs. The interesting question, I think, is why he's giving up more home runs. Johnson's strikeout rate is slightly lower since 2004, and as a result he's given up more hits, and of course some of those hits have flown over the fence. So is he giving up more homers because he's striking out fewer hitters? Or is he giving up more homers because he's throwing more fat pitches?
Or maybe it's not so interesting at all ... maybe the results are what's interesting. Randy Johnson turned 45 last September, near the end of a season in which he won 11 games and posted an ERA significantly better than average. I suppose that's interesting enough, with the potential to get even more interesting this season.
As for Gallardo, I'm not completely sure that his hitting's a fluke. He didn't show a great deal of power in the minors, but he did bat .333/.373/.458 in 54 plate appearances. Throw in his (now) three home runs in 51 career at-bats in the majors -- not to mention his fantastic pitching equipment -- and Micah Owings would probably kill to be Yovani Gallardo right about now.