Brewers slugger, a six-time All-Star, homers on 4-RBI night
By Curt Hogg
MILWAUKEE -- As the All-Star voting window nears a close, Ryan Braun made an impressive final statement.
Braun extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a big showing in Wednesday night's 7-0 win over the Dodgers at Miller Park, going 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs. For the season, the Brewers left fielder leads the team with a .325 batting average, .557 slugging percentage and .938 OPS.
A six-time All-Star, Braun is putting up numbers in his age-32 season that are improved over his career stats, including batting average, walk/strikeout rate, on-base percentage, slugging and wRC+ (weighted runs created plus). In his career, he has averaged a home run once every 20.67 plate appearances. This year? More of the same, hitting a dinger in every 20.77 plate appearances.
"I think I've played well enough to at least merit [All-Star] consideration, and I think that's everybody's goal," Braun said. "The goal every first half is to play well enough to at least deserve to be an All-Star, and we'll find out in a few days."
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until 10:59 p.m. CT on Thursday. Vote up to five times.
In the latest ballot update, Braun was fifth among National League outfielders with 1,327,209 votes. Yoenis Cespedes of the Mets was third at the time of the release on Monday, but he his since jumped the injured Dexter Fowler of the Cubs for the top spot. With Fowler slipping, there remains a chance fans could push Braun into the top three.
Braun dealt the back-breaking blow to Dodgers rookie Brock Stewart with the bases loaded and two outs in the second inning. With the Brewers up 3-0, Braun slashed a double to the left-center gap to plate two more runs.
Braun capped his night in the seventh inning, taking a first-pitch fastball on the outer half from Chris Hatcher and lining it to right field for his 13th home run of the season. Over the 10-game hitting streak, Braun is batting .415 (17-for-41) with eight runs, five doubles, two homers and seven RBIs.
"Usually when I'm going my best, I'm definitely driving a lot of balls the other way," Braun said. "One of my biggest strengths is hitting the ball the other way, staying on the ball, both fastballs and offspeed pitches. The goal is to hit it where it's pitched, so it's nice that I'm starting to get that true backspin on the ball again."
Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.