TigsTown Roundtable: Real Armando Stand Up

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: Which version -- April or May -- is the real Armando Galarraga this season?

Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
In Armando Galarraga's last start against Baltimore, he was effective, but not outstanding. He scattered ten hits, allowing three runs in seven innings of work. That, is the real Armando Galarraga, and what we're likely to see more of this season. Galarraga was simply pitching over his head in April, and the statistics indicated that he was in line for a regression. But on the field, hitters made a big adjustment against him, and Galarraga (and pitching coach Rick Knapp) were slow to react. Galarraga is never going to be a dominating top-of-the-rotation starter - he doesn't have the repertoire and has shown nothing in his past to indicate he's good enough to keep that up. However, he's proven he can be an effective big league starter (with an ERA in the low to mid 4's) and I think that's what we're likely to see from Galarraga as the remainder of the season plays out.

Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
Galarraga was absolutely torched for much of May, as his fastball command wavered, and his slider lost bite. That's a recipe for disaster for a sinker-slider pitcher without overpowering stuff. The key for Galarraga is -- despite being a sinker-slider guy -- not relying too much on these two pitches. His change-up is a more than usable pitch, and he simply has to use the pitch regularly to remain effective. During the 2008 season, Galarraga threw his change-up roughly 11% of the time. That has fallen like a rock to roughly 6% of the time in 2008, and even below that throughout May. During the 2008 and 2009 season, he has continued to throw roughly 49-50% fastballs; meaning the rate at which he has relied on his slider has spiked this season. It is possible he has been throwing his slider more as a means to try and get that feel and bite back, but it is also possible he simply got away from it and that is what got him in trouble. In an average 15-pitch inning, we need to see Galarraga throwing at least one or two change-ups, if we don't see that, then I fear his performance in May could become much more of the norm in 2009. If the usage of his change-up climbs back into the vicinity of 10%, I strongly believe we will see Galarraga right the ship and be the solid pitcher he was throughout 2008 and into this April.

Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I think Galarraga is a combination of his efforts over the first two months of the season, and he's still trying to find himself mechanically. He didn't get a lot of work at the World Baseball Classic, so in some respects, he may still be making up for lost time. If he's able to get back on track, I would suspect you'll see his strikeout numbers improve. After striking out 24 batters in 24 1/3 innings in April, that number dropped to 15 (with 14 walks) in 29 2/3 innings pitched. Although he lost his last start in Baltimore, he had his first quality start in a month, and if the Tigers are going to stay in the race, he has to pitch well.

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