MILWAUKEE — Taylor Jungmann isn’t looking at his next start as a kind of redemption; he’s just excited to get another chance to pitch for the Milwaukee Brewers this season.
Jungmann will take the mound Saturday as the Brewers continue their final home series of the season against the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park.
It will be his first big league start since April 28, when he gave up five runs in just 3 2/3 innings of a 7-2 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The outing dropped his record to 0-4 on the year and raised his ERA to 9.15. A day later, Jungmann was on a plane to Colorado Springs, where he would join Milwaukee’s Triple-A affiliate in the hopes of getting back on track.
Things didn’t go much better there, either. Jungmann made eight starts for the Sky Sox, going 1-3 with a 9.87 ERA and was ultimately sent to the Brewers’ spring training complex in Phoenix to regroup on June 19.
"We’re giving him a mental break and allowing him to refresh," general manager David Stearns said after the decision. "Then, we’ll get him going again."
Ten days later, Jungmann was headed to Biloxi, Miss., where he joined Milwaukee’s Double-A affiliate, and finally, things started to click. He started 13 games for the Shuckers, posting a 3-4 record and 2.87 ERA while striking out 81 in 75 1/3 innings of work.
"I think that was a turning point, getting an opportunity to work on some things with a couple of live BPs, where I didn’t have to worry about results," Jungmann said of his time in Arizona. "It was just working on the mechanics of things. It was all young guys there."
Milwaukee’s third-round pick in the 2011 draft, Jungmann made a strong impression as a rookie in 2015, going 9-8 with a 3.77 ERA in 21 starts, and was considered a long-term building block in the rotation prior to this season.
Now, he has a chance to put his name back in the mix for next season as the Brewers continue their rebuilding project.
"He struggled at the start of the season," Counsell said. "I don’t see it as redemption. That’s a nice ‘plot.’ It’s his career. He struggled, made some adjustments, figured some things out. You hope he comes back a better person. Really, it’s about the path to getting better and be more equipped to get big-league hitters out and have success.
"We need major league starters. We’ve gone with six for the last three weeks and that’s great but six isn’t enough (for a full season). We’re going to need more. It’s the process of identifying these guys and getting them in a place where they can be major league starters."
Jungmann will face Reds right-hander Dan Straily, who faces Milwaukee for the third time this season.
Straily leads the Reds in victories, innings pitched, strikeouts and quality starts and has held opponents to a .220 batting average this season.
Straily has been especially good in the second half, leading the National League with nine victories while posting a 3.14 ERA in 13 starts.
"I’m trying to figure out a way to get better and better, because I also have time playing against me," Straily told the Cincinnati Enquirer earlier this month. "It’s just one of those things where you never know. You don’t know. You don’t know if it’s going to be a Cy Young season or if it’s going to be a we’ll-see-you-later season."
Against the Brewers this season, Straily is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA.