The Milwaukee Brewers find themselves with just nine games left in the regular season and are creeping closer to clinching a playoff berth. Although it looks like their best chance of the playoffs is through the wildcard, let’s take a look at what their starting rotation will look like, if they make it to the divisional series.
Who gets the start?
With the scheduled off days for travel in the NLDS and NLCS, the Brewers will most likely have a starting rotation that consists of just three pitchers. At this point, two of the three are easy selections. Those selections would be Jhoulys Chacin and Wade Miley.
Chacin has been the Milwaukee Brewers most reliable starter of the year. With 32 starts under his belt, including 14 wins and a 3.54 ERA, Chacin has been the most consistent pitcher in this rotation. Even though Miley’s start to the season was derailed by injury, he has been lights out for Milwaukee since returning. Miley has a 2.08 ERA and has given up just 17 earned runs in his 73.2 innings pitched.
Gonzalez has had a very nice career in Washington but 2018 was not going well for him. He had a record of 7-11, with a 4.57 ERA and his opponents were batting .272 against him. Gio’s biggest issue was his lack of command. He is currently third in the NL with 77 walks given up, with 70 of them coming with the Nationals.
However, since arriving to Milwaukee, Gonzalez appears to be revitalized and looking like himself from previous years. When GM David Stearns made the trade for Gonzalez, there had to be some hoping that a change in scenery would turn his year around. And up to this point, it definitely has.
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As a Brewer, Gonzalez has made three starts totaling 16.1 innings pitched. He has given up just eight hits and three earned runs. While striking out 18 batters and holding his opponents to a batting average of .143. Gonzalez’ command has greatly improved and it has been a key factor in his turn around since joining the Milwaukee Brewers.
You have to figure that a big reason Gonzalez was brought in was because of his postseason experience, which there isn’t any among the rest of the starting pitchers. Gonzalez has started in six postseason games, totaling 26.1 innings and has never given up more than three runs in an outing.
It is crucial to keep games in October low scoring. As the intensity increases and the weather cools down, scoring runs becomes much more difficult, so it is important that your starting pitcher doesn’t give up many runs.
In addition to his experience, Gio’s pitching style sets up well for the postseason. Outside of throwing his fastball, Gonzalez’ two other pitches are a changeup and a curveball that he is able to locate down in the zone very well. This leads to a lot of ground ball outs and limits the home run ball. On the season, he has given up just 16 home runs. This will help to limit the potential big innings by the opposing team, especially if he makes his start at the hitter-friendly Miller Park.
Regardless of who the starter is we know one thing is certain, and that is they will be on a short leash. Any sort of trouble arises, manager Craig Counsell will go to the bullpen. But having Gio’s postseason experience on the team had to be part of the decision-making process when deciding to trade for him. And he has shown since arriving to Milwaukee that he deserves the opportunity.