Zach Davies replaces injured Gio Gonzalez on Brewers’ NLCS roster
LOS ANGELES — A sprained ankle ended the postseason for Brewers pitcher Gio Gonzalez.
Milwaukee took the veteran left-hander off its National League Championship Series roster Wednesday morning and replaced him with right-hander Zach Davies, who has yet to see action during the playoffs and hasn’t appeared in a game since Sept. 28 when he allowed three runs in a four-inning start against the Detroit Tigers at Miller Park.
Davies gives manager Craig Counsell another multi-inning option out of the bullpen. The Brewers used seven pitchers in their 13-inning 2-1 loss Monday.
“Today, and for the rest of the series, he’s a length option,” Counsell said of Davies. “Having been a starting pitcher, having started on the last week of the season, he’s capable of throwing a lot of pitches. There’s certainly a chance he’s in the game today.”
Davies was left off the postseason roster after an injury-plagued season. Penciled in as the No. 2 starter coming out of spring training, Davies got off to a slow start and landed on the disabled list with a shoulder strain in May before going on it again on June 1. He spent the next two months rehabbing through that injury as well as a back strain before finally returning for good on Sept. 3.
He started five games over the final month, posting a 3.91 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 23 innings.
“Everybody in the clubhouse has that feel, at any moment, their name can be called upon,” Davies said. “Everybody has done their work, stayed sharp, stayed ready, in case something like this does happen. 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.”
Counsell said the team considered Opening Day starter Chase Anderson when discussing a replacement for Gonzalez.
Like Davies, Anderson also was left off the playoff roster following a disappointing season (9-8, 3.93 ERA). He was removed from the rotation during the final week of the season and hasn’t pitched since Sept. 18.
“He was definitely an option,” Counsell said. “In the end, I think it’s been 30 days since he’s been in a game, and that was part of the factor.”
The Brewers had to clear the move with Major League Baseball, which had its medical director confirm the diagnosis. By rule, Gonzalez will not be eligible to pitch should they advance to the World Series.
MLB reportedly fined Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado for clipping the leg of Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar while running out a groundout in the 10th inning of Game 4.
The incident caused both benches and bullpens to clear briefly. While Aguilar and Machado both brushed off the run-in, Aguilar’s teammates — especially Christian Yelich, who called it a “dirty play by a dirty player” — were less than pleased.
Counsell said Wednesday morning he wasn’t expecting any warning from the umpiring crew, who he thought properly handled that play as well as Machado’s two questionable slides into second base a night earlier.
“I think they’ve done a wonderful job of recognizing situations, that this is the playoffs and that emotions run a little higher in these games for players and managers and coaches,” Counsell said. “I think they’ve done a wonderful job.”