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Despite rough finale, Jungmann confident

SAN DIEGO -- Taylor Jungmann slogged through three-plus innings of Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Padres and pushed his total for a successful rookie season to 178 2/3 innings between Triple-A Colorado Springs and the Brewers, precisely 25 innings beyond the career high he set last season. His numbers during a disappointing September suggested fatigue, though Jungmann had disputed that notion before making his final scheduled start in the team's road finale.

After deploying 84 pitches against the Padres to record nine outs, Jungmann was asked again: Did the long grind of a Major League Baseball season catch up to him in the end? This time, he offered the perfect answer.

"No guy is ever going to admit that they're tired," Jungmann said.

Here's what the numbers have to say on the matter: In the first 16 starts of his Major League career -- beginning with a winning, seven-inning debut in Pittsburgh on June 9 -- Jungmann went 9-5 with a 2.42 ERA. In those outings, Jungmann surrendered three home runs in 96 2/3 innings.

In his final five starts of the season, including the three-inning outing Thursday in which he was charged with three runs on four hits and four walks, Jungmann went 0-3 with a 9.53 ERA. He surrendered eight home runs in 22 2/3 innings, including a go-ahead two-run homer to Yangervis Solarte in the third inning Thursday that essentially decided the game.

"I'm sure [the career-high workload] had something to do with it," he said. "You see the [velocity] dropping. Things like that are things that can contribute to [diminished performance]. But I'm not ever going to tell anybody I'm tired. That's my job, to be out here every [start] I'm supposed to be out here.

"Like I've said before, I'll go into the offseason and make adjustments and go from there."

Manager Craig Counsell preferred to focus on the big picture. Jungmann, a former first-round Draft pick, finished his first season in the Majors with a 9-8 record and a 3.77 ERA. The 25-year-old is the fifth rookie in Brewers history to make at least 20 starts with an ERA that low, and only the second (with Mike Fiers in 2012) since Don August went 13-7 with a 3.09 ERA in 1988.

"I don't think he finished the way he wanted to, but if I look at the season as a whole, it was a great first year in the big leagues," Counsell said. "Something that we can build on, for sure."

Counsell added: "Taylor surprised a lot of people this year, in a positive way. That's how I look at his season."

The problem on Thursday, once again, was command. Besides the four walks, Jungmann fell behind hitter after hitter and grinded through at-bats. Solarte hit a 3-1 pitch for the decisive home run.

"In two days," Jungmann said, "I'll be over this outing. I'll be over this month, just looking for a fresh start next year. You take what you can from this season, and you learn from each outing. But like I always say, if you don't have confidence, you don't have anything in this game. I'm always going to have confidence in myself."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.
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