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Zach Davies and the Quest for 20 Wins

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If Zach Davies can win four of his remaining starts, he’ll join an elite group of Brewers pitchers.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been an up and down season for Zach Davies. He started the season with a rough stretch, recording a 4.90 ERA prior to the All-Star Break and only putting together quality starts in 4 of 18 games. Since then, his results have been much better. After a bad start against the Phillies coming out of the All-Star Break, he has recorded quality starts in eight of his last nine starts, dropping his ERA to 3.85 and FIP to 4.20 on the season. It has helped Davies re-establish himself as a pitcher in this rotation going into the next few seasons.

Meanwhile, Davies has the chance to do something that only three Brewers in the history of the team have been able to do: win 20 games in a season. Davies is already tied for twelfth in this category at 16 wins, and should have at least five more starts to try to get to the 20 win mark. The only other three pitchers that have reached that mark: Mike Caldwell in 1978 (22 wins, 2.36 ERA, 2.94 FIP), Jim Colborn in 1973 (20 wins, 3.18 ERA, 3.43 FIP), and Teddy Higuera in 1986 (20 wins, 2.79 ERA, 3.40 FIP). While all three of them put up better seasons than Davies, it still requires a good amount of skill from the pitcher to be able to put up a season like that.

At the same time, Davies also has a chance to finish the season with the league lead in wins. Currently, he is tied with two other pitchers for the MLB lead: Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. In the history of the Brewers, there has only been one other Brewers pitcher to accomplish this feat: Pete Vuckovich in the strike-shortened 1981 season. He ended up in a five-way tie for the MLB lead and a four-way tie for the American League lead in wins with just 14 wins.

While the win statistic has fallen out of favor in recent years, it’s still a statistic that’s used by many, and it’s not an easy feat to lead the league in it. The fact that only three other Brewers pitchers have reached that mark shows how difficult it can be. It not only requires skill on the pitcher’s part, but on the team as a whole as well. If Davies can finish the season strong, get to 20 wins and potentially hold the league lead, it will be a nice accomplishment for him to top the recovery he put together over the course of this season.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.