MILWAUKEE — Zach Davies will go for his sixth victory of the season when he takes the mound Thursday as the Milwaukee Brewers wrap up a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Miller Park.
Davies has been on an absolute tear the last two months, going 5-0 with a 2.64 ERA in his last 10 starts — after posting an 8.78 ERA in his first three outings.
He set a career high with nine strikeouts his last time out, but took a no-decision after allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk in five innings of work.
“They fouled off a bunch of pitches, and he had a bunch of strikeouts, too, which ran up his pitch count,” manager Craig Counsell said after that outing. “That's a tough middle of the lineup to get through, a challenging middle of the lineup. I thought Zach threw the ball as well as he has in his previous starts.”
Davies has faced the Dodgers only once before in his career, taking no decision after holding Los Angeles to a run on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts in seven innings at Dodger Stadium earlier this month.
Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda has done well on the road this season, going 4-1 with a 2.79 ERA while holding opponents to a .188 batting average.
The MLB rookie — Maeda spent eight seasons with Hiroshima of the Japanese Central League prior to signing with the Dodgers this season — is looking to rebound after allowing a season-high-tying four runs in five innings of a 6-1 loss at Pittsburgh.
“My job is to go deep into the game and give the team the best shot to win,” Maeda told the Los Angeles Times. “Yes, it is frustrating to not be able to do the job.”
Prior to that, he'd been locked in; going 3-1 with a 1.52 ERA over a five-start stretch, including a stellar showing against the Brewers on June 19, when he allowed just a run on six hits while striking out eight over 6 1/3 innings but didn't factor into the decision of the Dodgers' 2-1 victory.
“I'm proud of him for the way he battled,” Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said after that game. “”I know he got some insight in the dugout about trying to change some things up mechanically and it showed right away. It speaks to how talented he is, how athletic he is. His fastball command was dominant the rest of the game. That's huge for us, because Kenta can use his off-speed at will — and that's really good — but teams can sit on that.”
Maeda allowed two hits including a double to Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun in that contest. Braun has terrorized Dodgers pitching this season, going 10-for-25 with five runs, four doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs and a stolen base in six games this season.
Overall, he has hits in his last 11 meetings with Los Angeles.