MLB Regular Season
Matchup: New York Yankees at Texas Rangers
Date/Time: July 30, 8:05 p.m. ET
Pitching Matchup: CC Sabathia (4-8, 5.38) vs. Yovani Gallardo (7-9, 3.19)
MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook
Moneyline: New York -130
For now, Yovani Gallardo is slated to start for the Texas Rangers on Thursday night against Michael Pineda and the New York Yankees. Gallardo will be a sought-after commodity on the trade market for teams that fall short for guys like David Price, Mike Leake, Ian Kennedy, and others. Gallardo doesn’t have the same kind of upside as others on the trade market and some evaluators may want to see how he fares in this start against a Yankees lineup that has been very good offensively all season long.
Nobody seems able to stop the Yankees right now. They have opened up the second-biggest division lead in the American League and lead the American League in runs by a healthy margin, just like everybody predicted before the season. The Rangers managed to be 37-31 after their first 68 games, but they entered play on Wednesday night with a 47-52 record. The Rangers are in talks to possibly acquire Cole Hamels, which wouldn’t have a huge impact for this season, but it could certainly change the perception of this team for 2016.
(Edit: Original copy had scheduled starter Michael Pineda)
CC Sabathia will get the spot start in place of injured Michael Pineda on Thursday night for the Yankees. It would seem that Globe Life Park is a scary yard for Sabathia, whose command has taken a serious nosedive over the last three seasons. It has coincided with a decrease in velocity and the worst HR/FB% rates of his career. This season, Sabathia has maintained his good control, with a 94/24 K/BB ratio, but the 21 home runs allowed coupled with a .328 BABIP against have given the hefty lefty a 5.38 ERA with a 4.56 FIP and a 3.60 xFIP.
This is one of a few cases where sabermetrics are unable to tell the whole story. By having an outlier of a HR/FB%, a good K rate, and a good BB rate, SIERA and xFIP suggest that Sabathia’s performance has been pretty good. The problem is that Sabathia’s command has devolved so much that this is more of a stuff problem than a bad luck problem. Sabathia has the lowest swing-and-miss rate of his career, outside of his rookie season with the Cleveland Indians back in 2002. His Zone-Contact percentage is also a career-worst, which is yet another sign that the 35-year-old is in serious decline.
Yovani Gallardo is a brilliant example of a pitcher reinventing himself and setting his ego on the backburner. Gallardo started losing velocity during the 2012 season and decided to make a change. He adopted more two-seam movement on his fastball and went from a pitcher with strikeout upside to a heavy ground ball guy. Over the last three seasons, Gallardo ranks 23rd among 113 qualified pitchers in GB% at exactly 50 percent. His strikeout rate has declined in each of the last three seasons, but he has still been effective.
This season, Gallardo has a 3.19 ERA with a 3.70 FIP and a 4.19 xFIP. He would be a good fit to a team with a good defensive infield in a pitcher’s park. That’s true of next season as well, following his trip through free agency this offseason. The amazing thing about Gallardo is that he is only 29 years old, so his velocity left in a hurry. He’s dependent on pitchability and sequencing now, but there are a lot of guys that are able to have success with that combination and he seems to be one of them.
MLB Prediction: Texas Rangers
Initially, the Yankees were the pick, but the pitching change has given this game a different feel. Of course, Yovani Gallardo is pitching with trade rumors swirling around, assuming he isn't scratched, so this is a hard game to pick. At this point, with so much uncertainty, it probably becomes a game to simply skip on tonight's card, but the Rangers have gotten reliable work from Gallardo and you cannot say the same about Sabathia.