Jeff Banister has announced that Yovani Gallardo will start Game One of the ALDS against the Toronto Blue Jays, with Cole Hamels starting Game Two.
Hamels starting Game Two was a given, as it puts him on normal rest after his start in Game 162 on Sunday, as well as putting him on schedule to start a potential Game Five on normal rest.
The mystery was who would be starting Game One, as there were arguments to be made for any of the Rangers' four other starting pitchers to start the opener or be dropped from the rotation. The sense was that the final spot in the rotation would come down to Gallardo or Martin Perez, with Gallardo having an edge because the Blue Jays have hit lefties better than righthanders this season. In addition, Gallardo has pitched twice against Toronto this year and not given up a run in 13.2 IP, while holding the Jays hitters to a .136/.224/.136 line.
Gallardo has a 3.42 ERA on the season, but his peripherals have not been as strong -- he has a 4.00 FIP and just 5.9 Ks per 9 innings. In addition, he hasn't gone more than 6 innings in a start since June 27 -- in 17 starts since then, he has only gone 6 innings three times, the last time being on August 22.
Gallardo's struggles to go deep into games was the reason why I had suggested he might be a good fit for a Game One start, since every reliever would be fresh after four days without pitching, and Game Two starter Cole Hamels is not someone you would expect to need as deep of a safety net, allowing you to be more aggressive with your relievers in Game One.