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What to expect from Zack Godley

A subpar rotation stand-in for injured Brett Anderson

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MLB: Game One-Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

If the name Zack Godley sounds familiar in a way you can’t quite place, think back to Godley’s July 2015 MLB debut against the Brewers. Godley pitched six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and no walks, the first such MLB debut since 1900. Oddly enough, he was filling in for an injured (Chase) Anderson in the start. Godley gets the start this afternoon, filling the rotation spot for the injured Brett Anderson.

Godley has had plenty of major league experience in the interim and has thoroughly tempered expectations set by his historic debut. Over six years in the majors, he has a 4.86 ERA, a below-average WHIP (1.39), and strikes out batters at an about-average clip.

For his struggles, Godley has a BABIP only slightly above league average (.312), which suggests that an effective Brewers defense might be able to hold it together with a struggling Zack Godley on the mound, at least when they get a chance. The measure does not factor in home runs, and Godley gives up a ton of them.

At his best, Godley has a ground ball rate slightly less than Anderson’s average. His best came in 2017, when he produced a 3.17 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 55.3% groundball rate.

He has been on the skids ever since, though, and is coming off his career-worst season. 2020 provides a small sample size and included only eight appearances and just under 29 innings for Godley, but his numbers in that time are ghastly. He produced an 8.12 ERA with a slightly below-average strikeout rate, and a WHIP approaching 2.00 (1.95). Opposing pitchers slashed .336/.413/.624 against him. He gave up 9 home runs across the eight appearances.

Brewers fans can hope for a bounce back from Godley (in this case, we’re hoping for a bounce back to a few years ago). More likely, we can expect a pitcher who is unlikely to be an effective stand-in while Brett Anderson is out of the rotation.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference