Armando Galarraga #58
- Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 180
- 2008 Stats: 13-7, 3.73
On April 15, 2008, the Tigers summoned Armando Galarraga from Toledo for what most presumed was a short-term stint for the rookie right-hander. He made his Tigers debut on April 16 in Cleveland â€“ a period when the Tigers desperately needed wins â€“ and tossed a gem: 6.2 innings pitched, one hit, two runs, no walks and six strikeouts. At that time, little did the Tigers know how significant Galarragaâ€™s impact would be.
In 30 appearances (28 starts), he posted a 13-7 record with a 3.73 ERA in 178.2 IP â€” and became the de facto staff ace. For his effort, Galarraga ranked fifth in the American Rookie of the Year voting. His recipe for success in 2008 was simple: throw strikes early and often â€“ nearly 70 percent of his first-pitch fastballs were strikes â€“ and nibble at the outside corners. Another ingredient: dominate right-handed hitters; they batted a meager .174 off Galarraga â€“ nearly 90 points less than lefty hitters.
If the Tigers’ pitching staff is to rebound collectively in 2009, it will depend on an encore performance by Galarraga. And if top-line starters Verlander and Bonderman return to form, the Tigers will boast a dynamic rotation that few A.L. Central teams can match.