Brewers see highs, lows of prospect Davies

In first start since picking up first career win, rookie allows six runs over 3 2/3 innings

Brewers see highs, lows of prospect Davies

PITTSBURGH -- In a three-start span to begin his career, the Brewers have seen rookie right-hander Zach Davies at his best and, perhaps, his worst.

Coming off a strong start in Miami, his first Major League win, Davies picked up his first big league loss against the Pirates on Saturday night, a game the Brewers would eventually lose, 10-2, at PNC Park.

Davies, the Brewers' No. 11 prospect, served up six runs on six hits and five walks in only 3 2/3 innings, pitching without the pinpoint fastball command that helped him cruise past the Marlins five days ago.

"Did a lot of work between the first start and the second start, and it kind of went out the window," Davies said. "That's disappointing."

Davies said the source of his problems Saturday night was simple: his fastball command. He was rushing his delivery, not locating his fastball and falling behind in counts.

That led to five walks -- five more than he totaled in his last start and two more than in his Major League debut -- and a lot more hitter's counts.

"I don't think that's going to be a normal night for Zach Davies," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "When you fall behind in the count, the hitter shrinks the strike zone. I think that's what happened to him throughout the night."

Davies survived a walk in each of his first two innings, getting out of the first and second unscathed. But walks have a way of catching up with pitchers, and that was the case in the Pirates' big third inning.

Davies walked the leadoff man then gave up three straight hits, the biggest an RBI double by former Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez. After another walk, another single and two straight fielder's choice grounders, he'd given up five runs on four hits and two walks.

"Walks are killers. You've got to make them earn their way on," Davies said. "There's certain times where walks are good, but five walks was too many."

After another walk and another Ramirez double in the fourth, Davies' day was done.

"Walks are not going to be something you see from him on good nights," Counsell said, "because he should have the ability to get himself ahead in the count whenever he wants."

Of course, three starts is too small a sample to judge -- especially for a 22-year-old right-hander making his first few starts in the Majors. The Brewers have reason to believe they'll see plenty more of Davies at his best in the future.

"Guys have ways they are going to be successful. That's the way Zach's going to be successful. I think we've got to give him a little longer than three starts to make that judgment. He knows that. You have to attack hitters."

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.