After Tuesday’s Game 4, the Milwaukee Brewers didn’t have much choice. And on Wednesday they made it official, replacing Gio Gonzalez with Zach Davies on their NLCS roster ahead of Game 5 (via ESPN). Gonzalez would suffer a high ankle sprain to his left ankle on Tuesday. And now, should the Brewers rally to win the NLCS, he will be unavailable for the rest of the postseason.
The Brewers pitcher exited Tuesday’s game in the second inning with zero outs, making it a game that Milwaukee had to cover 11-plus innings with the bullpen. Wednesday’s starter, Wade Miley, would start the game on short rest. It wasn’t an ideal situation for the Brewers to be in. But as it turns out, Miley is now starting Game 6 on Friday at Miller Park. After facing just one batter on Wednesday, Craig Counsell would go to Brandon Woodruff out of the pen. In other words, it was another bullpen game. We just didn’t know it.
Davies was not initially on the Brewers’ postseason roster after compiling a 4.77 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and a 2-7 record during the regular season. He had initially been one of the Brewers’ best, but fell victim to injuries. Over the course of the season, Davies suffered a rotator cuff injury and struggled with a back issue.
And while other pitchers remained an option for Gonzalez’s replacement, it was Davies who appeared the most prepared and a best-fit for the situation.
“Zach was under consideration kind of at the beginning of the series. We’ve kept him, we feel like, prepared and going pretty good here,” manager Craig Counsell told MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. “We talked about Chase. He was definitely an option. In the end, I think it’s been 30 days since he’s been in a game, and that was part of the factor.”
MLB postseason rules allow clubs to request permission to replace a player who’s unable to play because of injury. Milwaukee’s request was approved by the MLB’s medical director and Davies was added to the postseason roster. And even in these circumstances, Davies is ready to help his team advance to the next stage.
“Everybody has done their work, stayed sharp, stayed ready, in case something like this does happen,” Davies said via MLB.com. “It’s unfortunate that the reason you replace someone on the roster is because of an injury, but at the same time, everybody wants to be ready.”
Davies did pitch one inning on Wednesday during Milwaukee’s 5-2 loss to Los Angeles. He allowed one hit and struck out a batter. The Brewers and Dodgers will play Game 6 Friday 8:40 EST — the series heads back to Milwaukee. L.A. now leads the series 3-2.