The Milwaukee Brewers stayed in the hunt for a playoff spot last year thanks in part to their overall health. Stephen Vogt is already out for a significant chunk of the spring. What happens if starter Zach Davies misses a few weeks with his oblique strain?
Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Zach Davies was diagnosed with a very mild oblique strain today. According to Tom Haudricourt, the Brewers medical staff is confident that Davies will only miss his next outing. As oblique strains go, this one sounds pretty tame, but what happens if it lingers or is aggravated when Davies returns?
What is an oblique strain?
It’s when you tear a muscle under the surface of your lower four ribs. You use these muscles for almost everything and barely notice it unless it’s torn. These aren’t as painful as an abdominal tear, but they’re annoying and can take longer than most strains to heal.
What happens to the Brewers rotation if Davies is out?
If, and this is a big IF, Davies misses more than a Spring Training outing, the Milwaukee Brewers are fine. A few missed outings in the spring by Davies pushes the start of his 2018 season back. If he were healthy he would start in the opening series, possibly on the first game of the year.
The most likely scenario is that Chase Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin, and Brandon Woodruff work the first three games in some order. The Brewers have an off day on Sunday because March baseball is weird, and head to Milwaukee for the first game of the year at Miller Park. The winner of the fifth starter competition starts on Opening Day in Miller Park, followed by Anderson, Chacin, and Woodruff. The team wouldn’t technically need a fifth starter until April 6th.
After the series in San Diego, the Milwaukee Brewers have 10 games against the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals before they have another off day. Davies could return in any of those three series, or meet the team in New York for a series against the Mets that starts on April 13th.
The Brewers may have to get by with whoever comes in second place in the fifth starter competition for a week or two, but that’s a small price to pay for a fully healthy Zach Davies.
As long as Davies can limit the time lost to one Spring Training outing, there disruption to the starting rotation will be minimal. If his oblique strain starts to linger into mid or late March, then it’s time to worry.