Brewers pitcher Doug Davis went online to field questions from fans on Thursday. The left-hander, who went 12-12 with a 3.39 ERA in 2004, talked about game preparation and expectations for the upcoming season.
baseballmod: Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us. Doug Davis will be with us momentarily.
bjrobbins: Doug, Brady Robbins here. Spent some time with you in Round Rock at BAT. I was glad to here last year you finally got the contract you deserved. Just wanted to drop a line and say hey. Good luck this year.
Doug Davis: Thanks, I appreciate it. And thanks to everyone else for tuning in. Sorry I'm a little bit late. I'm looking forward to answering your questions.
Base_Ball: After having bounced around with a number of teams, then finally being arbitration-eligible, how does it feel to be under contract with one team for more than a year? And has it changed your style of life -- house, car, friends and family?
Davis: It feels good to be locked up. I don't have to come in trying to win a job, and yes, it has changed my life -- house, car, hobbies, everything. Wouldn't it change anyone?
We're looking to buy a house sometime in 2005, but still in the Dallas area.
jonlimer: Doug, do you go through a 'mental checklist' on each pitch? By that I mean, are there certain things related to your mechanics that you think about with every throw?
Davis: Mechanics shouldn't be an issue out on the mound. If you're worrying about mechanics, how are you going to get the guy out? You should be thinking about one thing -- the location of the pitch.
We work on our mechanics during bullpens with pitching coach Mike Maddux. It's a 10 minute, 70 percent effort 'touch and feel' exercise of all pitches. If one pitch needs extra attention -- you're not happy with it or there was an issue in your previous start -- you might work on it a little bit more.
Your mechanics are something your pitching coach needs to point out to you. You can't see yourself out there unless you're watching tape. So it's important to have him point out what's going on. It's all about muscle memory after that -- everybody throws the ball different.
Kate_Jaeger: Do you have any pre- or postgame rituals? What is the atmosphere in the clubhouse in the hours and minutes leading up to game time and after the game is over? What if you win? What if you lose?
Davis: I eat the same thing -- tuna fish -- before every start. I wear the same hat, the same undershirt, same shorts, same shows, same glove. I don't touch the line when I go out -- I hop over it. I throw the same warm-up pitches before every inning -- fastball, fastball, fastball, changeup, cutter, curveball, fastball, fastball. That's eight pitches, every time, at 50 percent effort except the last throw.
As for the clubhouse, I take a nap until 2 or 3 at the ballpark, get something to eat and then go over the game plan. That involves studying the opposing hitters with Maddux and the catcher. I'm locked in once I get to the clubhouse. I'll have discussions, but I won't be looking around the clubhouse too much. I'm to myself.
After a game, win or lose, as long as I gave my team a chance to win I'm satisfied. We don't have music in the clubhouse, win or lose, so it's pretty quiet both ways. There are always conversations, though.
21rush12: Is 49 your lucky number or was it just given to you?
Davis: It was given to me here in Milwaukee. Before, it was 17. Seven is my lucky number, so if 7x7 is 49, that's good by me. No. 17 is taken by Jim Gantner, so there's no chance I would even ask for it. No. 49 works for me.
mench21: Hey Doug, I've been a fan of yours since you pitched for the Rangers, and I was wondering what mechanical adjustment you made last season that made you more of an effective pitcher.
Davis: The Rangers really never gave me the confidence to go out there and be what I can be. The Brewers have, and I worked with Mike Maddux to shorten my arm path. That helped me get my hand on top of the ball and be more consistent.
Base_Ball_3: D-Squared, I hear you're a really competitive "Bridge" player, is this true?
Davis: I think I know who this question is from, and it's not bridge -- it's cribbage. How many times to do I have to tell you that?
When we're waiting for our food on the team charter -- the flight attendants always take a long time -- we play cribbage. I used to play with Ben Ford and Matt Kinney, so I don't know who I'm going to play with this year.
carrie6: Why do you think the majority of pitchers are terrible hitters?
Davis: Are you calling me a terrible hitter? Because I agree. Not all pitchers are terrible at the plate. They have no problem hitting off me! That's my claim to fame -- giving up Randy Johnson's only home run.
foop42: Why do you bat right-handed?
Davis: I don't know. Maybe I should try left. I guess it came from golf -- I started playing golf when I was 8 and didn't start playing baseball until I was 12.
tdotbjayz: Who drives the best car on the Brewers?
Davis: I guess it would be Geoff Jenkins with the Astin Martin -- just like 007. Until it got dented by a home run. We take batting practice on a back field, and the players' parking lot is over the left field fence. Now, my Mercedes is the best.
crazyforcappy: Who is the joker of the team -- like, who plays the most jokes in the clubhouse?
Davis: Sheets. I guess Carlos Lee does a lot, too, but he hasn't done anything so far. Maybe he's just trying to feel his way. Ned Yost is a good practical joker too.
tdotbjayz: What do you think of the additions of Carlos Lee and Jose Capellan?
Davis: I think that the right-handed power bat is going to definitely help our lineup. It will definitely break up our lefties. Capellan is a young hard-thrower with the talent, but he needs experience.
jonlimer: Doug, which minor league pitchers have caught your eye this spring?
Davis: For the Brewers? I like watching Derrick Turnbow (not exactly a minor leaguer -- just a new guy) and Luis Pena. Pena has a good arm, and he's long. The lefty Jeff Housman was also good. He pitched himself out of some jams this spring. Jim Rooney, our minor league pitching coordinator, says Housman reminds him of a young me.
madisonian: Does the difficulty of the sun at Miller Park for day games give you more confidence on the mound since it's so hard to see the baseball as a hitter?
Davis: It is not a factor in my head, because I still have to put the baseball where I want it. I don't throw 98 mph. I don't try to change my game plan for any outside factors -- the wind blowing out or in, whatever. It goes the same way for hitters, because they sometimes try to do more. You have to stick with your approach.
shulawrebel: Doug, did any of the players apologize to you and Ben for the lack of run support last year, given that you guys had really great performances?
Davis: No apology necessary. We win and lose as a team.
One guy who does say sorry, all the time, is Ned Yost. "I wish we could have scored more runs for you," he says.
mlb_com_member: What pitch other than your cut fastball do you consider your best?
Davis: Good question. All of my other pitches set up that cut fastball.
madisonian: Do you like batting?
Davis: I love batting. I really do. I'm just not good at it. I try to do too much.
Base_Ball_2: After a Brewers Spring Training highlight the other night, the sports anchor added "Look for 60 wins out of the Brewers this year." How do you feel about the lack of respect the Brewers get from some of the national sports media?
Davis: To each his own. I think we'll do better than 60. I think we'll do better than .500, pending everybody staying healthy. We should score more runs and have a stronger bullpen. Some people question the young talent we have in there because of lack of experience at certain positions, but we have the talent to be a plus-.500 club.
rbro22: Hey Doug, what is the biggest aspect of your game that you've been working on this offseason that you hope to bring to the table?
Davis: Hitting! That's the hardest thing I've been working on. I bought a pitching machine. If there is one thing I can help my team out with, it's getting some bunts down and getting some clutch hits here and there. If I could have done those things last year, helping myself out, I might have won 2-3 more games.
jonlimer: Doug, how do you think the addition of Damian Miller will change/help you as a pitcher?
Davis: The history of Damian Miller has a lot to do with Chad Moeller. Moeller came up under Miller with the Diamondbacks. Damain has a lot of experience, both behind the plate and at the plate. But why change something that works? I worked well with Moeller last year. But, either is fine with me. I trust them both.
fgdfs: In 2002 you played on three MLB teams in one season. That must be stressful -- how did you manage that and does something like that effect your pitching?
Davis: It was actually SIX teams, because there were some minor league teams in there. The change was the best thing for me, because a new environment allowed me to prove myself worthy of becoming a big league starter. It also showed teams that I was willing to go to Double-A and Triple-A. It showed that I wanted to be there, and I wanted to help.
Kate_Jaeger: Is it a huge bummer to have to work on Easter? Will you still be able to celebrate with your family? I'm looking forward to watching the FSN broadcast.
Davis: I'll have the morning with my wife and kids, and will be pitching that night against the Rangers, my old team.
bitzer2000: What is with the facial hair this season?
Davis: The thin mustache -- we called it "the anchor" -- got a little bit old. So I'm trying something new. If it doesn't work, I'll go back to the old one.
mlb_com_member: Who is the toughest hitter you have ever faced and why?
Davis: It has to be Bonds, because he doesn't miss the mistakes. But I have the most trouble with contact hitters, like David Eckstein, Matt Kata, Mark Grudzielanek. There are other scrappy hitters like that, too. They may not hit the long ball, but they get the clutch hits.
brewcrew1122: What are your hobbies or things that you enjoy doing in the offseason?
Davis: I love playing golf, and now I'm into R/C airplanes, cars. We had a plane on a back field a few weeks ago, and me and Matt Wise got it going. But we were shut down by the grounds crew. They're fun -- a lot of crashes, but fun to fix. It gets expensive.
Julie_Pankow: How cool is it for the Brewers players to see enthusiastic fans like in the Tuesday night Buckethead section? Does it help energize the team?
Davis: Yes, it definitely helps. It's like having a 10th man out there on the field.
mlb_com_member_2: What Stadium do you think is the hardest to play in ?
Davis: For pitching, it's Colorado and Texas because of the thin air. On the flip side, I like pitching at Oakland, L.A., Shea Stadium in New York and Florida. I like Miller Park, too.
21rush12: What's the toughest thing about being a Major Leaguer?
Davis: Getting good help in the clubhouse -- just kidding, the clubhouse guys are great. For real, it's keeping a level head when things are going right and wrong, keeping your emotions intact on the field and off it. If you can do that, being a big leaguer is the idea, rock star job. Everybody wants to be a rock star, right?
mlb_com_member_8: What are your realistic goals for the season ... ERA, wins, strikeouts?
Davis: My first goal is to repeat what I did last year -- to have two consecutive years of 200 innings. I'd like to help my numbers out, especially in the win column, and allow fewer walks. We all have the same goal here -- that's to win more games. Not just for the other guys in the clubhouse, but for the city of Milwaukee and the rest of our fans.
Hey everyone, thanks for all of your questions. I have to get out of here so I can catch the Brewers-Mariners game! Hope to see you out and about at the stadium this season.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.