Preview: Brewers vs. Pirates
MILWAUKEE — Jhoulys Chacin will start Saturday in place of Zach Davies when the Milwaukee Brewers host the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park.
Davies was placed on the disabled list during the team’s off-day Thursday because of inflammation in his right shoulder. Neither he nor manager Craig Counsell thought the injury, which Davies said happened in a start last weekend against the Cubs, was serious. Davies is expected to miss just one start.
He could return as early as next Saturday when the Brewers visit Colorado and with a pair of off-days surrounding their weekend series with the Pirates, the rest of Milwaukee’s rotation — including Chacin — will be able to stay on regular rest.
“It works out nice to keep our starters on a five-day schedule and push me back,” Davies said. “I’m thankful for that kind of timing, but it’s never fun to go on the DL.”
Chacin took a no-decision his last time out, allowing four runs on five hits over 4 1/3 innings in a 6-5 Brewers victory at Cincinnati. Prior to that, he’d allowed three runs over his previous three starts, striking out 12 over 15 2/3 innings of work after starting the season 0-1 with a 6.59 ERA through his first three starts.
Those are the kind of numbers the Brewers had in mind when they signed Chacin to a two-year contract over the winter, eschewing deals with more expensive, higher-profile free agents or trade targets.
The thought was, an improved offense would help cover for any shortcomings on the pitching staff. But a month into the season, Milwaukee’s offense has struggled to get going while its pitching — especially bullpen — has become one of the best staffs in the National League, even after a rare bad outing from Junior Guerra Friday night in the series opener.
“People who predict can be wrong a lot,” Counsell said. “Our pitching has been very effective. We’ve done a great job preventing runs. “I think we can safely say that early on in the season, the bullpen has been the unit that’s really done the heavy lifting.”
Jameson Tallion gets the nod for Pittsburgh for his seventh start of the season. The right-hander got off to a good start but since striking out seven in a 5-0 victory over the Reds on April 8, he’s 0-3 with a 7.79 ERA in his last four starts.
He showed improvement his last time out, holding the Nationals to three runs on seven hits over six innings of work in the Pirates’ 3-2 loss at Washington last week.
“No one likes to struggle, and what I did the past two starts was probably worse than just a struggle,” Taillon said. “Those were really unacceptable, really bad starts. That’s not who I am, that’s not what I’m about.”
With their victory Friday night, the Pirates are 9-2 against National League Central opponents in 2018, outscoring them, 70-42 along the way. And a victory against the Brewers Saturday would clinch their fourth series victory against a divisional opponent in as many tries in this season.