Jungmann aiming to get 'back on track'

Righty working on mechanics, confident he can break out of rough stretch

Jungmann aiming to get 'back on track'

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers are "pretty fortunate" to own a 7-9 record, manager Craig Counsell conceded, despite a series of pitching performances like the one Taylor Jungmann & Co. endured in an 8-1 loss to the Twins at Miller Park on Thursday.

Jungmann fell to 0-3 with an 8.47 ERA after setting a career high with six walks and allowing three Twins runs on four hits in four-plus innings. He pushed the composite ERA of Brewers starters to 5.87, the highest in the Majors, and when Minnesota added four runs over the final two innings against Sam Freeman, the Brewers had surrendered the most earned runs (84). Six of Milwaukee's nine losses have been by a margin of at least five runs.

"The season's been a little strange so far," Counsell said. "We've got to prevent runs overall better, certainly. That's not just pitching, it's defensively also. We've got to do a better job preventing runs. We've got to give ourselves a chance more often."

The Brewers have lost three of Jungmann's four starts, all by a margin of at least five runs. His struggles date to last season. The former first-round Draft pick was 9-5 with a 2.42 ERA over his first 16 Brewers starts but is 0-6 with a 9.08 ERA in nine starts since then -- five at the end of last season, plus four this season. In 2016, Jungmann has allowed 21 hits and 10 walks in 17 innings.

He called Thursday's outing "a little disappointing."

"When you're working on your mechanics, you have days like that," Jungmann said.

What is he working on?

"It's going to sound stupid, but it's just rhythm and timing," Jungmann said. "Being a long, lanky guy like I am, if I don't have rhythm and timing with the way I step across my body like that, it's tough if you don't have that timing."

Jungmann's signature trait is that he throws across his body, creating deception for hitters. But that also means more moving parts compared to pitchers with cleaner deliveries, presenting a particular challenge when Jungmann's mechanics get out of whack.

"I always say about a lot of these guys, your blessing is your curse sometimes," Counsell said. "So that's Taylor's blessing, that delivery makes him deceptive, and it also is the curse, and it sometimes makes it a little difficult to repeat your mechanics."

Jungmann said his confidence was unshaken.

"If you're a pitcher, you've been through stretches like this multiple times," he said. "It's not like it's the first time. It's every year, man. Every year you go through spurts like this. It's being able to weather the storm and getting back on track.

"Obviously, it's not something that I want to happen. Like I said, if you're a pitcher, you have to let things go. I know I've had a rough stretch here, but I had a rough stretch at the end of last year, and I had a rough stretch in Spring Training. So I'm just trying to get back to where it was in the middle of the season last year. I'll do whatever I can to get there."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.