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Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Tigers' Galarraga sent down, for cause

Geez. Tough crowd:

For his temporary demotion, Galarraga can also blame HIS LOUSY PITCHING.

Since the Perfect Game That Wasn't, Galarraga's made five starts. The Tigers are 4-1 in those games, which is good. Galarraga's got a 6.00 ERA in those games, which is bad. Galarraga struck out seven hitters in those five games, which is (almost) impossible.

In 2008 and '09, Galarraga's first two seasons with the Tigers, his strikeout rate was decent but he walked too many hitters and gave up too many home runs. In 2008 he was lucky, and posted a 3.73 ERA. In 2009 he was unlucky and posted a 5.64 ERA. The ERAs were vastly different, but the underlying performances (and presumably, the underlying skills) were not.

In 2010, Galarraga's ERA has split the difference, suggesting that he's finally found his level -- except he's actually been a completely different pitcher (granted, we're talking about just 48 innings). Galarraga's throwing more fastballs, which has led to fewer walks and home runs (good) and many fewer strikeouts (very bad).

Galarraga remains a young, talented, and (we may assume) highly motivated pitcher. But I can't escape the notion that he'll never be much more than a No. 5 starter, because he simply doesn't have the stuff to strike out hitters and limit the walks and homers. He has to choose one or the other, and the result will always be less than brilliant (with, of course, the exception of a near-perfect game every so often).