a frequent September contributor and through the s

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MILWAUKEE -- Zach Davies run of success may be surprising to most baseball observers, but Craig Counsell isnt among that group.He showed us this last year, the Milwaukee Brewers manager said about Davies. Hes certainly shown that hes had this in him. What you love to see is just the consistency, a guy who you know youve got a good shot to win when hes taking the mound for you. Thats what hes becoming.Davies takes the mound Thursday afternoon against the Arizona Diamondbacks in search of his team-leading eighth victory of the season. He has been marvelous for Milwaukee in 2016, going 7-4 with a 3.64 ERA.Those numbers would be even more impressive were it not for rough start. The 23-year-old right-hander took losses in each of his first three outings of the year, allowing 13 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings.Ever since then, he has been fantastic, going 7-1 with a 2.84 ERA while holding opponents to a .217 batting average.I think I know what Im capable of, Davies said. I know that if Im doing the right things and executing my pitches, good things are going to happen.Over his past three starts, he has allowed just three earned runs in 20 innings. He threw seven scoreless innings against the Reds in Cincinnati on July 17, then held the Chicago Cubs to one run in 6 1/3 innings on Saturday.His first (three) starts since the break have been absolutely outstanding, Counsell said. Hes been really good. Again, its off of four pitches. Him and (catcher Jonathan Lucroy) are really in sync, and theyve really kind of got hitters on the defense and not knowing what to look for. Hes doing a nice job making pitches.Davies will go up against a Diamondbacks offense has sputtered all season yet broke out Wednesday night, riding two home runs from Yasmany Tomas to an 8-1 victory over the Brewers.Left-hander Robbie Ray will get the start for Arizona. He is 1-4 with a 4.72 ERA in his past six starts. While he did strike out a career-best 10 batters his last time out, he allowed three unearned runs in the first inning and a three-run home run to Jay Bruce in the third as Arizona went on to lose 6-1 at Cincinnati on Saturday.It was just my fastball command, Ray said afterward. Its something thats always been really good for me. I worked both sides of the plate with it tonight. I was able to keep them off balance with my curveball and my slider.Counsell wouldnt say whether or not Brewers shortstop Jonathan Villar would be back in the starting lineup Thursday. Villar is enjoying a great season at the plate, batting .297 on the year, but while he is tied for the major league lead with 36 stolen bases, he also has made some horribly-timed mistakes on the base paths. On Wednesday, he was caught trying to swipe third after a leadoff double.That gaffe, along with a pair of first-inning errors, led Counsell to pull Villar midgame.I think weve given him freedom, Counsell said. 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CHICAGO -- Jeff Samardzija will find himself on a familiar mound but in an unaccustomed role on Thursday.A onetime baseball and football standout from northwest Indiana and a Chicago Cubs pitching mainstay from 2008 to 2014, Samardzija will try to shut down his former team as the San Francisco Giants arrive for the opener of a four-game weekend series.The 31-year-old Samardzija, in his first season with the Giants, faces his former team for only the second time in his career and first at Wrigley Field at 8:05 p.m. ET Thursday.Im sure hes excited about it, San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday. Hes spent some time there. He knows Wrigley Field. Hes been throwing the ball well. I hope he continues that into tomorrows game.The Giants, currently leading the National League wild-card standings, are making their only Wrigley Field appearance of the season.They took two of three from the Cubs on May 20-22 at AT&T Park.Samardzija declined a long-term Cubs offer in 2014 and began an odyssey that took him to Oakland (via trade), to the Chicago White Sox last year and finally this season to the Giants.Set to make his 26th start of 2016, Samardzija is coming off a seven-inning shutout performance on Aug. 26 against the Atlanta Braves that included seven hits, six strikeouts and three walks.Hes 0-1 all-time against the Cubs, suffering the loss on Aug. 14, 2015, when the White Sox beat their cross-town rivals 6-5 at U.S. Cellular Field.The Cubs counter with Mike Montgomery (1-1, 3.50 ERA), who was origginally slated to pitch Wednesday but swapped spots with Jason Hammel.ddddddddddddMontgomery, 27, makes his third start with the Cubs, all against NL West opponents, including two against the Giants. He threw 91 pitches, allowed three runs despite walking four and gave up six hits in a no-decision on Aug. 26 at the Los Angeles Dodgers, a 6-4 extra-innings victory.I decided to give him an extra day, Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters. It just made all the sense in the world to do it that way. I talked to Hammer (Jason Hammel) about it yesterday, and he was fine. Montgomery was good with it, so thats what were going to do.Montgomery has made 20 career starts, going 5-7 with a 4.39 ERA and two complete game shutouts in 2015.Chicagos spacious new clubhouse will easily handle additions arriving this week as rosters expand to 40 on Thursday.The Cubs got the jump on added personnel by recalling versatile infielder Tommy La Stella and his .295 bat from Triple-A Iowa and inserting him in Wednesday lineup.LaStella had played in 51 games before a declining to report as assigned to Triple-A Iowa in late July, then later agreeing to a minor league stint.Hes expected to be a frequent September contributor and through the subsequent NL playoffs.After the series against the Giants, the Cubs embark on a 10-day, nine-game road trip that takes them to Milwaukee, Houston and St. Louis. Black China NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys From China NFL Jerseys China Wholesale NFL Autographed Jerseys Wholesale Throwback Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Online ' ' '

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