Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Zach Davies has made three starts in 2018. Two of those have been very rough starts and the other was very good. Davies is a very important part of this Brewers pitching staff, and it will be key for him to be more consistent.
Zach Davies has given up a total of 12 earned runs, five of those against the Mets, six against the Cardinals during the home opener, and only one in a solid six innings against the Cubs. That start against the Cubs was the only game that he has hit the six inning mark.
That highlights the biggest problem for all of the Milwaukee Brewers starters, innings. The Brewers rotation is not giving their team much length in games. They are frequently forcing the bullpen to work as early as the 5th inning. Davies had his ups and downs last season, but generally he was someone who could eat a lot of innings for the Brewers. He needs to get back to that.
When Davies is successful, it is because of the amount of movement on his pitches. His two-seamer and his cutter are key. When he’s struggling and getting hit hard, like he was against the Mets, it’s when those pitches don’t have that sharp movement. They hang over the plate.
Davies isn’t a pitcher who can throw the ball right past hitters. He has to have that finesse and that good movement in order to succeed. When he has it, he can be very difficult to pick up and that’s when he’ll give you six or seven innings. That is what the Milwaukee Brewers desperately need right now.
An important factor in terms of Davies success is what ballpark he’s pitching in. In 2017, Davies had a 2.04 ERA on the road, significantly better than his concerning home ERA of 5.82. Miller Park is a hitter friendly park, but those home numbers are unacceptable. Especially when you can see the type of pitcher he can be with those road numbers.
In 2018, Davies will have to be able to pitch better at home, especially against teams like the Cardinals, Cubs, and the rest of the NL Central. Games at Miller Park should be an advantage for the Brewers. But having a pitcher like Davies who struggles at home, but is good on the road, puts a damper on that edge.
If Davies can start pitching like he did in the second half of 2017, it would be a huge help to a struggling Brewers rotation. However, Davies really hasn’t had a long enough run of success for fans to be able to trust him with the ball all the time. Especially not as the number two starter on the team. When Jimmy Nelson returns, he will be the number three.
The Brewers need multiple pitchers in their rotation to step up and play above their expectations. Davies has had a top spot in the rotation locked down since last year. Because of that, he needs to step up his performance. He is certainly capable. He’s shown how good he can be. But he has also had very low points, and has not been consistent. Davies success will be something to watch throughout the entire 2018 season.