Armando Galarraga – 2009 Bowman

January 27, 2011

“Thumbs Up, Dude!”

If you pulled this card in 2009, you may have guessed that Mr. Galarraga was a good guy. He proved it after his near perfect game this past season. Andres was a good guy as well. Maybe it’s anyone named Galarraga?

Armando has had the good, the bad and the ugly during his short career.

The good, obviously, was the great game against Cleveland and the good publicity.

The bad was the call against him in that game.

The ugly? Well, baseball is generally ugly. It’s cold, caring, insensitive; it’s a cruel mistress. Like Nurse Diesel.

When this picture was taken, Armando was sky high. Finally, after signing at age 16 with the Expos, and being traded twice (once for Alfonso Soriano and another from Texas to Detroit in a transaction that may not have been noticed in the agate section), he got a legit chance in the bigs at age 26 and went 13-7, 3.73. With Bonderman hurt and Verlander pitching ugly, Galarraga was the best starter for that Tigers team.

But 2009 was not a good year. He was 6-10, 5.64 and it could have been reasonably said that had he pitched better they would not have needed the one game playoff against the Twins.

He started last year in the minors, but was recalled in May. After a good start, a bad start, and a skipped turn where he pitched in relief, he twirled that gem against Cleveland.

But in the next six games, his ERA was 5.61, and he was sent down for a skosh before being recalled. He improved a bit, but then got hammered in September (0-4, 6.15). For the year, he was 4-9 with a 4.49 ERA.

Had he not pitched that wonderful game, there would not have been surprise or alarm when he was DFA’d. Actually, Detroit did him a great favor as the Diamondbacks need pitching, desperately.

I’m going to root for him – he’s a good egg. And no matter what, he’s going to enjoy playing the game. However, the game of baseball will not root for him. Baseball does not play favorites. It is a pure meritocracy.

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