Davis faces his former team for the second time this season as the Arizona Diamondbacks begin a three-game series with the Brewers on Monday night at Chase Field.
Looking for more offense behind the plate, the Brewers traded Davis (10-10, 3.92 ERA) to the Diamondbacks this past offseason as part of a six-player deal that landed Johnny Estrada. While Estrada has hit .276 with eight homers and 39 RBIs in 94 games, Davis’ recent string of strong outings has been the kind of pitching sorely lacking from the rotation right now for the Brewers, who trail the Chicago Cubs by one game in the NL Central.
The left-hander is 5-0 with a 3.13 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break and has won his last three outings, limiting opponents to six runs in 20 1-3 innings. Davis labored Wednesday at Florida, giving up four runs in 5 1-3 innings while throwing 112 pitches in a 9-6 victory.
His five-game winning streak matches a career high established from Aug. 10-Sept. 19, 2001, while with Texas. One of Davis’ two no-decisions since the break came at Milwaukee on July 18, when he allowed two runs in six innings before Arizona posted a 5-2 win.
The Diamondbacks (71-54) were denied a three-game sweep at Atlanta following Sunday’s 6-2 defeat. The NL West leaders had no answer for Braves ace John Smoltz, who struck out 12 through eight innings, as they lost for just the sixth time in the last 27 games.
The Brewers (63-61) dropped two of three games to Cincinnati over the weekend, including a 6-5 defeat Sunday for their sixth loss in seven games. J.J. Hardy continued to bat well from the No. 8 spot - going 3-for-4, hitting his fifth homer and improving to 11-for-21 (.524) in six games there - but Milwaukee squandered an early 5-0 lead and Prince Fielder hit a game-ending groundout with two runners on base.
The defeat also may have marked the end of Chris Capuano’s spot in the rotation. The left-hander failed to protect the third-inning lead as the Brewers lost for the 16th consecutive time when he starts, though manager Ned Yost was non-committal afterward.
“I’ll see,” Yost said when asked about Capuano’s status in the rotation. “I haven’t made my mind up yet. We’re 10 minutes away from a tough loss.”
Rookie Yovani Gallardo (4-3, 4.84), who has one of the team’s two wins from a starter since July 28, will try to get himself and the Brewers back on track. The right-hander has been tagged for 18 runs and 21 hits in just 8 1-3 innings while losing his last two starts.
Gallardo surrendered seven runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings Wednesday in an 8-3 defeat to St. Louis. He has given up five homers in his last three starts after conceding just one in his first nine major league appearances.
“Pitching is a little bit like offense—it’s contagious,” Yost told the Brewers’ official Web site. “One good start leads to another good start, which leads to another good start. When you don’t have a good start, that puts the pressure on the next guy to make up for it, and then the pressure continues to build. That’s why it gets contagious.”
Gallardo did turn in one of his best starts against the Diamondbacks on July 19, scattering three hits and two walks in six shutout innings of Milwaukee’s 10-1 rout.