LHP Davidson replaces Morton on WS roster

After surprise call to Houston, rookie 'here for anything they need'

October 27th, 2021

HOUSTON -- More than four months after being placed on the injured list, left-hander will rejoin the Braves as a part of their World Series roster.

It’s certainly not something Davidson was anticipating as he spent Tuesday night watching Game 1 of the World Series in the lobby of a Courtyard by Marriott in Lawrenceville, Ga.

But Davidson had a feeling he might get a call after Charlie Morton fractured his right fibula during the second inning of the Braves’ 6-2 win over the Astros.

“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet,” Davidson said. “I think when we go out there for [batting practice] and start moving around, that’s when the jitters and everything will start happening.”

Major League Baseball approved Davidson as the replacement for Morton on Wednesday. The 25-year-old left-hander made just four appearances -- none since June 15 -- this year. But he could play a big role as the Braves use him as a starter, an opener or a long reliever.

“Reports were really good about how he was throwing, and he feels good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He did a really nice job for us when he was here the first time.”

Davidson posted a 3.60 ERA in four starts before suffering a left forearm strain that sidelined him for the remainder of the regular season. The southpaw allowed just three earned runs over three starts (17 2/3 innings) against the Mets, Nationals and Phillies from May 18 to June 9. He felt some discomfort while allowing five earned runs over 2 1/3 innings to the Red Sox on June 15.

The Braves placed Davidson on the 60-day IL in June and then brought him back to throw three innings of one-run ball for Triple-A Gwinnett during the club's regular-season finale on Oct. 3. Davidson has since been throwing at the club’s Triple-A stadium, which is located approximately 45 minutes northeast of Truist Park.

“It was probably about 12:45 or 1 o’clock when they called last night and said, ‘We need you, so get here,'” Davidson said. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind of emotions.”

Davidson left the Courtyard, rushed over to nearby Coolray Field, gathered his belongings from the clubhouse, slept for a few hours and then took an Uber to catch his flight from Atlanta to Houston.

In between, Davidson had to unload his car, which contained all the belongings he had stashed when he moved from his Gwinnett County apartment to the Courtyard at the end of Triple-A’s regular season.

“I just kind of threw everything on the hotel floor and started packing things,” he said.

Davidson has stretched out over the past few weeks in anticipation that he might be needed as a starter. He has thrown 75-80 pitches when completing recent simulated games.

“We’re here for anything they need,” Davidson said.

Bullpen games
The Braves were already planning to go with a bullpen game in Game 4. They may also have to go that route in Game 5, which would have been Morton’s next turn to start.

How the Braves get through the next few days will influence how they approach things beyond ’s Game 3 start. They could once again use as an opener and have follow him in Game 4. This arrangement worked multiple times during the regular season and against the Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.

Other options would be to possibly use , Smyly, Davidson or the right-handed to start either Game 4 or 5.

“We were kind of dealt a bad hand yesterday,” Snitker said. “We'll keep going. We're going to keep going, and we'll figure this thing out somehow.”

Home-field advantage
The Braves’ 42-38 home record during the regular season wasn’t anything special. But when the World Series shifts to Atlanta for Games 3, 4 and 5, they will be looking to extend their recent success at Truist Park.

The Braves have won 10 of their last 11 home games, including each of the five played during the postseason. Their only loss during this span was a 4-3 setback against the Mets on Oct. 1. That occurred the day after Atlanta clinched a fourth straight NL East title.