PIRATES (39-42) AT BREWERS (44-39)
2:10 p.m. ET; FSWI, WYTU, ATTSN-PT, MLB.TV
Zach Davies hopes to get back to being the pitcher he was the first six weeks of the season.
Davies is scheduled to take the mound for the Milwaukee Brewers in the finale of their three-game series against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon.
He was one of the league’s ERA leaders through mid-May, but has become vulnerable since then.
Davies (7-2, 3.34 ERA) is 2-2 in June with a 6.20 ERA in five starts. He has failed to go at least five innings in his past two outings, a mark he missed just once in his first 14 starts.
Most recently, he had a 1-0 lead to start the third inning on Tuesday against the visiting Seattle Mariners, but gave up four straight extra-base hits, capped by a two-run homer, to give the Mariners a 4-1 lead before they went on to an 8-3 victory.
Davies was gone after four innings, having allowed six runs (four earned) and six hits.
“I just need to go back to my mentality I had before, being aggressive, controlling the game myself and not being passive,” he told reporters afterward. “That’s the biggest change I see in myself right now, and it happens to everybody. There are times where you are going to doubt yourself. There are times where you think that somebody else knows what’s best for you, and you don’t rely on yourself.”
Davies wasn’t being critical of any particular person, rather pointing his finger directly at himself.
“It’s just you’ve lost a little bit out there,” he said. “You think somebody else can help you, instead of looking at yourself and knowing that’s the person who’s going to change it.”
Davies will go up against Pirates left-hander Steven Brault, who will be making his seventh straight start since exiting the bullpen. He’s 2-0 since then with a 2.23 ERA.
The Pirates have scored 11 runs in each of Brault’s past two appearances, but he wasn’t around to get the victory in his last outing, when Pittsburgh finished on top of the visiting San Diego Padres in a wild 11-10 win in 11 innings.
Brault (3-1, 4.50 ERA) faced the Brewers on June 9 in Milwaukee and gave up two runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He gave the ball to the bullpen with a 2-1 lead and the tying run on second with one out, but the bullpen didn’t bail him out and he received a no-decision in the 5-2 loss.
Brault has made 12 appearances overall against Milwaukee in his career, including six starts. He’s 1-2 with a 4.05 ERA.
The Pirates will be playing the third game of 16 straight against the NL Central opponents.
“It’s a good time to get into a groove, and feel like we’re in a good spot,” Brault said after his last start.
The Pirates had won seven of eight before losing 3-1 on Saturday night to even the series.
Pirates infielder Kevin Newman had two more hits on Saturday to extend his hitting streak to 19 games, the longest by a Pittsburgh rookie since 1900.
–Field Level Media