Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Zach Davies made his long-awaited return to the rotation on Monday against the Cubs. Since it went pretty well, has he done enough to keep his rotation spot.
No one really knew what the Brewers would be getting when Zach Davies came back into the rotation after missing the last three months with various injuries. Earlier in the season, Davies struggled to a 5.23 ERA in eight starts. Understandably, some were concerned about bringing Davies back for his first start in such a crucial game against Chicago.
But it was a good start for Davies. He went five strong innings, allowing only one run after a rare misplay by Lorenzo Cain in center field. Poor control plagued Davies in the early part of the season, but he only allowed one walk in the whole game, while striking out seven. He got the Brewers to the 5th with a chance to take the lead, which they did, and that was all he needed to do.
Craig Counsell was likely only expecting five innings from Davies and nothing more. In that case, Davies did his job.
A Crowded Rotation
While there are a lot of depth options for the rotation, it mostly consists of average or mediocre starting pitchers. The three locks for the rotation right now are Jhoulys Chacin, Chase Anderson, and Wade Miley. The final two spots are up for grabs between Davies, Junior Guerra, Freddy Peralta, and new addition Gio Gonzalez.
After Guerra’s last start went poorly, it’s fair to assume he’s getting moved out of the rotation. Considering what the Brewers gave up for Gio Gonzalez and given that he’s an established veteran pitcher, he’s likely going to take Guerra’s spot in the rotation.
With Gonzalez slotting into Guerra’s turn, that leaves one spot remaining for Davies and Peralta.
Should Davies Get The Spot?
He looked healthy in his first start back and gave the Milwaukee Brewers what they needed in an important game against a division rival. For that, he’s earned another opportunity.
But Freddy Peralta has filled in admirably in Davies’ absence. He’s had some very good starts, but Peralta has been inconsistent due to his struggles early on in games. Peralta’s last two starts have been against the Reds. In the first one, Peralta went seven shutout innings and looked phenomenal. In the next start, Peralta allowed five runs in 4.1 innings.
As a 22 year old in his rookie season, Peralta has gone through his fair share of bumps in the road this year. Despite his great potential, I don’t think it’s right for the Brewers to put their full faith in Peralta during a pennant race this season.
While the Milwaukee Brewers have stated they do not have an innings limit placed on Peralta this season, he’s already reaching new territory in terms of innings pitched in a season for himself. He could wear down during this final month and it’s a very risky proposition to expect Peralta to continue improving.
Davies, on the other hand, is a more experienced option that, while mildly injury prone, has proven to be effective when healthy. Now that Davies is looking healthy, he should get the chance to pitch every fifth day.
I think the Brewers would be more comfortable putting their trust in Davies, who’s in his fourth season in the big leagues, rather than Peralta, who’s in his fourth month in the big leagues. With his performance on Monday, Zach Davies should have earned back his spot in the rotation.
The Milwaukee Brewers will face many questions about their rotation as the head through September and October, and even into the offseason. For right now, Davies is their best bet.