Though the present might seem dismal for the Milwaukee Brewers, Taylor Jungmann is giving the franchise something to be excited about going forward.
The right-hander tries to become the first Brewers rookie in eight seasons to win four straight starts Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Since making his major-league debut June 9, Jungmann (5-1, 2.04 ERA) has blossomed into a pleasant surprise for Milwaukee (43-54). Though the injured Wily Peralta appears close to rejoining the starting rotation, there’s a good chance Jungmann could stick around.
"He just continues to make pitches and he continues to get swings that don’t look like great swings," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It’s been great to watch.
"He’s flat out pitching very well. He’s come up and done a really nice job for us."
The 12th overall pick in 2011, Jungmann has allowed one run in each of his last three starts while lasting at least seven innings. After recording his first complete game at Dodger Stadium on July 11, Jungmann went seven during Sunday’s 6-1 victory over Pittsburgh.
"I gave our team a chance to win and that is what you want to do every time out," said Jungmann, who can become the first Brewers rookie since Yovani Gallardo in 2007 to win a fourth consecutive start.
He’s 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA in five starts on the road, where Milwaukee evened its four-game set with Arizona (44-51) after Friday’s 2-1 victory.
Jimmy Nelson threw seven scoreless innings, Ryan Braun homered for the second straight night and Jonathan Lucroy added three hits as the Brewers won for the 18th time in the last 26 contests.
Braun’s only two hits in 12 at-bats over the last four games have left the park.
"You try to be prepared for every pitch," he said. "Sometimes it’s the first (pitch) at bat is the first pitch to hit, sometimes it might be the fifth or sixth."
Lucroy is 6 for 12 in the last three.
Teammate Adam Lind is 0 for 8 with three strikeouts in the series but 5 for 8 with a home run and two doubles against Rubby De La Rosa (7-5, 4.83).
The right-hander allowed 10 runs on five homers over 8 2/3 innings to lose his last two starts before the All-Star break, but yielded a solo shot and overcame a season-high five walks through seven of Monday’s 3-1 victory over Miami.
His 22 home runs allowed rank fourth-most in the majors.
"When he pitches down he gets those ground balls," Arizona manager Chip Hale said. "When we can get those ground balls and let those infielders work, we’re a much better team.
"His stuff is electric stuff, but those are the things he’s learning and maturing."
De La Rosa’s stuff barely generated a spark May 29 when he allowed four runs, including homers to Lind and Carlos Gomez in five innings while not factoring in the decision of a 7-5 victory at Milwaukee.
Ender Inciarte had three of the eight hits Friday for Arizona, which has been held to three or fewer runs eight times during a 2-9 stretch.
Despite that slide, Inciarte is batting .423 (11 for 26) in his last six games, and .360 in five against the Brewers this season.