MILWAUKEE -- It's rare to say it one week into the regular season, but for the Brewers it was true: It was a good time for an off-day.
Monday's open date gives manager Craig Counsell a chance to rest a bullpen that has already covered 31 2/3 innings, most in the Majors and an average of 4 1/2 innings per game. With Opening Day starter Junior Guerra knocked out after three frames by a calf injury and Matt Garza also on the 10-day disabled list with a groin strain, only twice in the team's seven games did Counsell get more than five innings from a starting pitcher.
Zach Davies did not make it into the sixth in Sunday's 7-4 loss to the Cubs at Miller Park, but his outing could have been worse considering he surrendered four runs before recording his second out.
"He obviously didn't get off to the greatest start, but it's so important for our starters to continue to compete because we beat our bullpen up so much," Ryan Braun said. "For him to at least give us five innings was encouraging."
A week into the season, the Brewers have already called up two pitchers from Triple-A -- left-hander Brent Suter, who departed Colorado Springs before that team played its first game, and David Goforth, who arrived Sunday and was thrust right into action (scoreless ninth).
"I have to be better," Davies said. "It's something that can't happen, a four-run deficit in the first inning."
Davies threw 34 pitches in his opening frame, including 26 fastballs, and was uncharacteristically wild. In a second inning exacerbated by shortstop Hernan Perez's error, Davies needed 24 more pitches, including 17 fastballs.
Kyle Schwarber led off the second with a home run, and the Cubs had two runners aboard when Braun made a diving catch in left field on Jason Heyward's gapper to end the threat.
"You could see the attitude of our guys -- they were definitely ready to play on a Sunday day game," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
But by then, Davies was beginning to find his footing.
"It was huge," Davies said of Braun's catch. "It kept me from throwing more pitches in that inning."
Davies recovered to pitch three more scoreless innings on 34 total pitches, a turnaround that helped spare further overwork for the bullpen.
Beginning Tuesday, the Brewers face a stretch of 16 straight game days.
"I was proud of how he competed more than anything," Counsell said. "That's a game where nothing went right in the first inning. He wasn't making pitches. We made a mistake in the second inning that could have created a rough, rough game, but from then on, [Davies] pitched beautifully. He pitched excellent. The first inning was not a positive, but taking away from that, I think Zach has something to build on, for sure."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. 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.