And it would have already happened by now, but he got hurt. Gallardo’s season ended shortly after taking a particularly gruesome tumble — and his NL Cy Young Award hopes went with it. Those who watched him during last year and during the few starts he made this year knew that this kid was maybe the best pitcher on the team.
This was apparent almost immediately from the first game Yovani started, replacing an injured Cappy in the lineup. I was working at Maxie’s one night last June and began a texting conversation with The Other J.J., who was sprinting into town with his girl just to see the kid debut. What they saw that night was the then-21-year-old give up 3 runs in six-and-a-third innings, FTW.
I remember getting a text from J.J. shortly after Yovani socked an RBI double in his first career at-bat. He pitched a no-hitter through the first five innings in his second start, and we all started worked feverishly on coming up with a nickname for him. The usual “—y” added nickname was a little awkward, so we started experimenting with other names. J.J. was on the forefront of the Yovani “Don’t Call Me Yanni” Gallardo. “Yo-Go” was another popular option, but this season I was planning on using “Yo-G” because it’s a true contraction and it’s fits the Jay—Z template.
In 2008, he pitched in three games — 20 innings — and recorded 13 strike outs and an earned run average of 1.80. Small sample size? Hardly. Anyway, he’s having surgery to repair his torn ACL tomorrow. Let’s all hope he gets well soon… like, by September.