Gonzalez is returning after missing almost two months because of a dead arm. Through May 27, the day Gonzalez made his most recent start, the 33-year-old logged a 3.19 ERA/3.25 FIP with 7.55 K/9, 2.61 BB/9 and a 45.5 percent groundball rate in 31 innings. Considering Gonzalez was stuck in free agency until late March, when he joined the Yankees on a minor league deal, and didn’t sign with Milwaukee until the end of April, the Brewers couldn’t have asked for much more from the ex-Athletic and National over his first six starts.
If Gonzalez proves to be close to as effective upon his return as he was before landing on the shelf, he could be a key midseason reinforcement for the Brewers. The defending NL Central champions have struggled of late and are now outside the playoff picture, albeit by just half a game, in part because their pitching staff has been a letdown. But getting back Gonzalez could improve both the Brewers’ rotation and their bullpen. Right-hander Adrian Houser, whom the Brewers moved from their bullpen to their rotation after Gonzalez went down, is now back in a relief role. Houser hasn’t performed well as a starter this year, but he has been superb as a reliever.