With the Brewers roster as battered and bruised as it has been this season, no position has been safe, including the typically rock-solid pitching staff. Pitching and the outfield have been the hardest hit so far this season. Brewers pitchers Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, Adrian Houser, Miguel Sanchez, Luis Perdomo, Jake Cousins, Justin Topa, Aaron Ashby, and Jandel Gustave have all dealt with injuries at some point this season.
As Freddy Peralta was sent to the 60-day injured list, the Brewers claimed Chi Chi Gonzalez off of waivers to help round out the bullpen. Coming to the Brewers, Gonzalez had a 7.71 ERA in 2022 with the Twins. Technically, he has improved since joining the Brewers, bringing his 2022 ERA to 6.87. Today, he was designated for assignment after a wave of mediocrity.
OF Hunter Renfroe reinstated from the 10-day injured list.
RHP Chi Chi González designated for assignment. pic.twitter.com/CbKazLzsJk
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) July 12, 2022
Hunter Renfroe Returns
Thankfully, the corresponding move is Hunter Renfroe’s return from the injured list. He landed there June 26 with a lingering calf injury. The Brewers’ offense has sorely missed his bat. Hopefully, Renfroe is able to pick up where he left off as one of the more explosive members of the team’s offense. The Brewers need that to break out of our current slump. Renfroe’s bat is crucial for the Brewers to stay in possession of the NL Central lead.
Hunter Renfroe’s return will likely mean we’ll be seeing less of Jonathan Davis in the outfield. Hopefully, Tyrone Taylor will be back soon too and the Brewers outfield will be back to full health.
The Nail in the Coffin for Chi Chi
On July 10, the Brewers lost a heartbreaker to the Pirates. Chi Chi Gonzalez pitched the 9th inning. He went into what was a one-run game and exited after increasing the Brewers’ deficit to four. After he gave up a three-run homer to former Brewer Dan Vogelbach, the Brewers’ offense couldn’t make up the difference even with a two-run blast from Andrew McCutchen in the bottom of the inning. That hit would have been a walk-off victory for the Crew if Gonzalez had been able to keep the Pirates scoreless in the top of the inning. Alas, the Crew fell 8-6. That game proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back after a long string of lackluster performances from Gonzalez.
Alternatives to Gonzalez
At this point, there has to be a better solution to eat up some innings than Chi Chi Gonzalez. Looking to AAA Nashville, there are a few options for call-ups now that he’s gone. With Peralta still injured and Gonzalez gone, there’s an opening for a pitcher to come up.
Top pitching prospect Ethan Small was called up earlier this season. He started off strong in his debut but lost control and was taken out in the third inning. There was a lot to like about his performance and he’s been pitching strongly in Triple-A since then. He could make another start, or be used in the middle innings to bridge the gap.
Like Ethan Small, Peter Strzelecki and Luke Barker made their Major League debuts this summer. Both relievers could be solid choices to come up and help fill out the bullpen. They’ve both struggled a bit in AAA play since their MLB debuts. However, both performed solidly against major league hitters earlier this summer and could again, given the chance.
With August and Freddy Peralta’s return (hopefully) nearing, Brewers fans are hopeful that the pitching staff will return to tip-top shape. Designating Chi Chi Gonzalez for assignment is definitely a step in the right direction and a sign that we aren’t making moves out of desperation.
For More Wisconsin Sports Content:
Follow me on Twitter @wscogirl for more Brewers content and Wisconsin Sports Heroics @WiSportsHeroics to keep up with Wisconsin sports news. For the latest in Wisconsin Sports, click here. Also, check out our merch store for WSH merchandise!