Jesus Aguilar breakout looks real Los Angeles Rams Custom Jersey for Brewers

The best hitter on the Brewers isn’t longtime star Ryan Braun, or 2017’s breakout sluggers Eric Thames and Travis Shaw. It’s not either of last winter’s pair of big-ticket outfield imports, Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. The best hitter on this year’s Brewers was cut free a year and a half ago by Cleveland so it could add Richie Shaffer, who never appeared for the Indians and is currently hitting .164/.216/.310 in Triple-A.

This year’s best Milwaukee hitter isn’t just the best hitter on his own team. Jesus Aguilar, a virtual unknown to most baseball fans a few months ago, has legitimately been one of the most productive hitters in baseball for a first-place team. By hitting .313/.373/.625, he’s been as productive as Aaron Judge on a rate basis.

The best hitter on the Brewers isn’t longtime star Ryan Braun, or 2017’s breakout sluggers Eric Thames and Travis Shaw. It’s not either of last winter’s pair of big-ticket outfield imports, Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. The best hitter on this year’s Brewers was cut free a year and a half ago by Cleveland so it could add Richie Shaffer, who never appeared for the Indians and is currently hitting .164/.216/.310 in Triple-A.

This year’s best Milwaukee hitter isn’t just the best hitter on his own team. Jesus Aguilar, a virtual unknown to most baseball fans a few months ago, has legitimately been one of the most productive hitters in baseball for a first-place team. By hitting .313/.373/.625, he’s been as productive as Aaron Judge on a rate basis.

2018’s best hitters, by wRC+, min. 200 PA

196 — Mike Trout, Angels
194 — Mookie Betts, Red Sox
174 — J.D. Martinez, Red Sox
169 — Jose Ramirez, Indians
160 — Aguilar, Brewers
160 — Judge, Yankees
153 — Francisco Lindor, Indians
153 — Freddie Freeman, Braves
(wRC+ is a park-adjusted metric where 100 is league average)

How is that possible? There are really three questions here that we need to answer, in chronological order.

1) Did Cleveland make a mistake in letting him go?
2) What’s made Aguilar this productive so far?
3) How likely is this to continue?

Video: STL@MIL: Aguilar homers to break up no-hitter in 7th

1. Should the Indians have regrets?

Sort of! But not really. Aguilar made four Minor League All-Star teams with Cleveland, in 2009 and 2013-15. He hit double-digit home runs six times, topping out with 30 in ’16, and he showed good plate discipline, with a walk rate just below 10 percent and a strikeout rate just below 20 percent. The 64 big league plate appearances he received over parts of three seasons weren’t exactly enough of a chance for him to show what he could do.

Then again, slow right-handed-hitting first basemen with limited def http://www.lovesports.us/Customized-St-Louis-Rams-Jersey ensive value aren’t exactly in high demand in baseball, and it’s not like Cleveland was hurting for production from first base and designated hitter, thanks to various combinations of Carlos Santana, Edwin Encarnacion, Mike Napoli, and Ryan Raburn. From 2015-17, Cleveland firs Men’s Los Angeles Rams Nike Elite Away White Custom NFL Football Jersey t basemen were baseball’s ninth-best hitters and Cleveland designated hitters were fourth-best.

If the Indians did err, it was in not giving Aguilar more of a chance when they had chances to give. Near the end of an 81-80 season in 2015, they spent far too much time giving DH starts to disappointing veteran Chris Johnson instead of giving younger players like Aguilar a chance. Still, it’s not like Aguilar’s positions were major weaknesses for good Cleveland teams, either.

(Besides, it’s not like Milwaukee did this perfectly either; while it wasn’t a one-for-one swap, the roster machinations that got Aguilar a spot headed into 2017 also ended up with the loss of Scooter Gennett, who went on to become a slugging star for the Reds.)

2. What is he doing so well?

Sometimes, this can get pretty complicated. Not so in Aguilar’s case, because he’s succeeding in the most 2018 way possible: he hits the ball very hard and almost never on the ground.

Of 278 hitters who have had at least 100 batted balls, Aguilar’s hard-hit rate of 46.3 percent is ranked 34th, ahead of stars like Matt Carpenter and Bryce Harper.

“The only thing I can control is trying to hit the ball hard,” Aguilar told MLB.com in May. “From there, you can’t really control what happens.”

That’s half true, because a hitter also has some control over whether he’s hitting it hard in the air or on the ground, and Aguilar is most definitely doing the latter. Of those same 278 hitters, his 30.1 percent ground-ball rate is fifth-lowest.

Video: MIL@PIT: Aguilar hammers a 2-run shot to ope Los Angeles Rams Custom Jersey n scoring

As you can imagine, hitting the ball hard and in the air leads to elite production, which is how Aguilar has posted a .625 slugging percentage — fourth in baseball behind Betts, Martinez and Trout (though he’s currently a few plate appearances shy of officially qualifying for the league leaders).

But what specifically is he doing to improve over last year’s solid-but-unspectacular .265/.331/.505 season? Look to the fastballs.

Last year, Aguilar hit .242/.345/.474 with a 33-percent strikeout rate against fastballs, which was fine enough. This year, he’s managed to pull off a neat trick: he’s swinging at more of them, up to 45 percent from 43 percent, and making a ton more contact in the zone, up from 74 percent to 88 percent, which is a huge jump.

If you look at the heat maps, it’s easy to see what’s happening. Last year, he would go after the high heat, with limited success. (He hit .167 with a .333 slugging in the upper third of the zone against four-seam fastballs.) This year, he’s laying off the high fastballs that he can’t do much with.

Instead, he’s focusing on the outside of the plate, and that’s a great spot for him — he’s slugging .931 on the outer third against fastballs of any type. That’s not just a good number, it’s the third-highest in baseball.

3) Is this at all sustainable?

The first thing you think of when a player with limited track record comes up and starts to mash is that he’s possibly the beneficiary of fortunate luck — that balls are finding holes. We saw this with Tampa Bay’s Mallex Smith in April, when he hit .329/.391/.418 thanks to an unsustainable .406 BABIP. With a more reasonable .317 BABIP since May 1, he’s hit just .241/.306/.337 since.

We’re not going to guarantee anything with Aguilar, because baseball doesn’t work that way. We can, however, say that he’s earned just about all of his production, at least based on Statcast™ metrics.

The way we do that is to look at player’s actual production and compare it to their expected production, based on the underlying skills of exit velocity, launch angle, strikeouts and walks. (Another way to think about it is that if a batter squares up a ball in a way that’s a hit 80 percent of the time but gets an 0-for-1 due to a spectacular defensive play, we want to give him credit for hitting the ball in such a productive way.)

Looking at it that way, for example, we can say that Albert Almora Jr. may be the player most outperforming his skill, since he’s putting up a great line without any meaningful changes to his strikeouts, walks, exit velocity or launch angle, and that could be an indicator his performance may not last.

That’s not the case for Aguilar, however. Last year, his actual wOBA was .351 and his expected was .346 — basically identical. This year, his actual wOBA is .411, and his expected is .403 — or again, more or less identical.

That doesn’t guarantee anything going forward. It does suggest that what we’ve seen so far hasn’t been about good luck. Aguilar hits the ball hard, he hits it in the air and he’s got a nice Minor League track record to fall back upon. For someone who entered the spring uncertain of a job with Braun expected to be the right-handed-hitting half of a platoon with Thames, Aguilar has produced a fantastic season — and from this view, there’s little reason to think it can’t continue.

Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Jesus Aguilar

Jesus Aguil Los Angeles Rams Custom Jersey ar is a 2018 Final Vote candidate

MILWAUKEE — Brewers fans delivered Geoff Jenkins to the All-Star Game in 2003 via the Final Vote, and did the same for Corey Hart in ’08. A decade later, can they do it again for slugging first baseman Jesus Aguilar?

VOTE Jesus: 2018 Camping World MLB Final Vote

MILWAUKEE — Brewers fans delivered Geoff Jenkins to the All-Star Game in 2003 via the Final Vote, and did the same for Corey Hart in ’08. A decade later, can they do it again for slugging first baseman Jesus Aguilar?

VOTE Jesus: 2018 Camping Men’s Los Angeles Rams Nike Elite Away White Custom NFL Football Jersey  World MLB Final Vote

On the same day Aguilar smashed two more home runs in the Brewers’ 10-3 win over the Braves, he was named one of five candidates for the National League’s final roster spot. Aguilar needs votes via the 2018 Camping World MLB Final Vote. Balloting is also live via the MLB A Los Angeles Rams Custom Jersey t Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps until 3 p.m. CT Wednesday.

The other candidates are Brandon Belt of the Giants, Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals, Max Muncy of the Dodgers and Trea Turner of the host Nationals.

“You look at the pure numbers, and Jesus deserves to be an All-Star. I don’t think there’s anyone in baseball who would argue with that,” said Brewers general manager David Stearns, who plucked Aguilar off waivers from the Indians just before the start of Spring Training two years ago. “[First base] is a very good position in the National League, and through no fault of his own, he had a late start compared to some of his competitors. You look at the numbers and it’s tough to say that guy is not an All-Star.”

Tweet from @AdamMcCalvy: On the Braves TV broadcast after @JAguilarMKE hit home run No. 21: “If this guy doesn’t make the All-Star team, they shouldn’t play it!”

The numbers are gaudy, especially considering Aguilar was on the Brewers’ roster bubble at the end of Spring Training, began the season as their third-string first baseman, did not hit his first home run until April 21 and did not start back-to-back games until May 1-2.

Now, including his two-homer afternoon against Atlanta on Sunday, Aguilar is tied with the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado for the NL lead with 22 home runs and second among qualified NL hitters to the Reds’ Eugenio Suarez with 160 Weighted Runs Created Plus and a .414 Weighted On-base Average — two of the most complete measures of offensive production.

:: Complete All-Star Game coverage ::

Arenado and Suarez are All-Stars. Aguilar needs help.

“That’s something I don’t control. It’s not me,” Aguilar said. “I’ve just got to go up there and play the right way.” 

The Brewers are on the road in Miami beginning Monday, so they will not have the benefit of promoting his candidacy in home games. But club officials were already planning a media and community blitz on Sunday, including a partnership with the Twins and American League Final Vote candidate Eddie Rosario.

Aguilar’s teammates didn’t wait for the official campaign to begin. They have been promoting Aguilar’s All-Star candidacy in interviews for weeks now, and recently began wearing T-shirts that say, “We believe in Jesus.”

“Look, he’s having an MVP season. He really is,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He’s having an incredible season. He’s [tied for the league lead] in home runs now. I mean, he’s certainly in the top five of offensive seasons in the National League right now. He’s been brilliant, man. He’s hitting in the middle of the order, he’s driving in runs. He’s a tough at-bat. Big spots, walk-off homers. Offensively, he’s done it all.”

Tweet from @AdamMcCalvy: Brewers��� @JAguilarMKE is 28 today. He���s fun, in case you haven���t noticed. pic.twitter.com/KiQGBxo82O

The Final Vote is not fans’ only way to weigh in. On Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.

The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in W Custom Rams Jersey ashington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.

For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Jesus Aguilar

Brewers’ Travis Shaw open Los Angeles Rams Custom Jersey to trying second

MILWAUKEE — Brewers second baseman Travis Shaw? It’s not totally out of the question.

Whether Milwaukee is simply expanding a player’s repertoire as part of a bigger plan was an open-ended question after Ken Rosenthal reported for The Athletic that Shaw did early work with coaches at second base during the Brewers’ last homestand. Shaw said he took grounders and worked on turning double plays during Milwaukee’s June 21-24 series against the Cardinals.

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MILWAUKEE — Brewers second baseman Travis Shaw? It’s not totally out of the question.

Whether Milwaukee is simply expanding a player’s repertoire as part of a bigger plan was an open-ended question after Ken Rosenthal reported for The Athletic that Shaw did ear Men’s Los Angeles Rams Nike Elite Away White Custom NFL Football Jersey ly work with coaches at second base during the Brewers’ last homestand. Shaw said he took grounders and worked on turning double plays during Milwaukee’s June 21-24 series against the Cardinals.

View Full Game Coverage

“They asked if I would be open to playing second if that situation presents itself,” said Shaw. “I don’t know if it’s going to present itself or not, but it’s been mentioned earlier this year, too.

“I actually feel OK over there. The range would be what it is, but if i http://www.lovesports.us/Customized-St-Louis-Rams-Jersey t happens, I’ll be ready to go.”

Brewers GM David Stearns downplayed the meaning of Shaw’s early work, saying in an email, “We have guys taking ground balls all over the field during early work and BP. Sometimes [Jesus] Aguilar takes ground balls at shortstop. Travis plays on that side of the bag a fair amount in our shift alignments so it makes sense for him to take ground balls over there. Adding to positional versatility is always helpful.”

Still, Shaw’s openness to a move could open avenues as Stearns looks for ways to bolster the Brewers ahead of the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Second base is a position of need, as Milwaukee entered Tuesday 23rd in the Majors in weighted on-base average and 26th in weighted runs created plus at the position.

If Shaw moved there, a rental player like the Royals’ Mike Moustakas would be in play as a trade target.

Shaw’s only experience at second base at any level has come as part of one of the Brewers’ more extreme infield shifts. He started a double play over the weekend in Cincinnati while standing in the position typically occupied by the second baseman.

Shaw’s offensive production is down lately, but that’s in part because of a lingering right wrist injury he’s dealt with in recent weeks. Entering Tuesday, Shaw was homerless since June 5, but still was on pace for 27 home runs after tying for the team lead with 31 a year ago.

“I’m feeling better. [The wrist is] not 100 percent yet,” Shaw said. “There are still a couple of swings here and there that I’ll feel it on. It’s really just impacted my ability to really fire on the ball, which has affected my power a little bit. It’s trending in the right direction. I think I’ve turned a corner.”

Cain needs more time; Yelich close
Center fielder Lorenzo Cain won’t escape the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday as he’d hoped. Cain, attempting to come back from a left groin strain, said his running on Monday “didn’t go as expected,” so the Brewers cancelled a scheduled baserunning session on Tuesday.

“I wouldn’t call it a setback, because I still got it up pretty good to 80-90 percent yesterday,” Cain said.

“He had a good day on the field, but there’s enough caution there that we have to get over the last hurdle,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We’re not to 100 percent yet. We’re definitely going in a good direction.”

Outfielder Christian Yelich also remained absent from the starting lineup because of a stiff back, but saw action as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning of the Brewers’ 2-0 win over the Twins. The stint came after Yelich took batting practice for a third straight day on Tuesday and declared himself “back on track.”

“That was the plan today. We were going to use him for defense if we got a lead late in the game,” Counsell said. “He’s feeling pretty good. I’m very optimistic.”

More Draft signings
The dollars available to sign first-round Draft pick Brice Turang before Friday’s deadline continued to dwindle Tuesday, when two more above-slot deals for players picked after Round 10 came to light.

After MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis reported a $210,000 bonus for 12th-rounder Korey Howell on Monday night, Callis said Tuesday morning that the Brewers had signed 13th-rounder Reese Olson for $440,000. And the Arkansas news site WholeHogSports.com reported Milwaukee had signed 24th-round pick Wade Beasley for $257,500. Olson and Beasley are right-handed pitchers.

Brewers Draft tracker

Everything north of $125,000 for players drafted after the 10th round counts against a team’s pool, and cuts into the figure above the roughly $3.01 million that the Brewers can offer Turang to lure him away from a scholarship to play at LSU.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Travis Shaw

Jesus Luzardo leads top pro Los Angeles Rams Custom Jersey spect performers

Here’s MLB Pipeline’s roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

Here’s MLB Pipeline’s roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Many pitching prospects have improved their stocks so far this season, but perhaps none quite as much as 20-year-old Jesus Luzardo.

The A’s No. 1 prospect (No. 20 overall) posted his third straight scoreless start on Tuesday, tossing five innings of one-hit ball in Double-A Midland’s 9-3 win over Springfield. He struck out four and retired the final 11 batters, ultimately facing one over the minimum in the outing.

Luzardo’s scoreless streak sits at 15 1/3 innings after Tuesday’s performance, and he’s now logged four consecutive starts without permitting an earned run. Even more impressive is that the precocious left-hander has given up just one earned run in his last fi http://www.lovesports.us/Customized-St-Louis-Rams-Jersey ve turns. He owns a 0.36 ERA in that span, with 26 strikeouts and three walks in 25 innings.

Promoted to Midland on April 24, Luzardo has registered a 2.81 ERA in 12 starts en route to All-Star honors in the Texas League. He’s totaled 64 strikeouts and 14 walks in 57 2/3 innings for the RockHounds, all while limiting hitters to a .215 average and four home runs.

For the season, Luzardo is 7-4 with a 2.49 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 89-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 72 1/3 innings (15 starts) between Class A Advanced Stockton and the RockHounds.

Luzardo’s fourth strikeout

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Tuesday

• No. 21 overall prospect Triston McKenzie (Indians’ No. 2) returned to form in earnest as he carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in best start of the year for Double-A Akron. He ultimately allowed just one hit — a leadoff triple in the seventh inning — over 6 1/3 scoreless frames, issuing one walk and striking out four, while throwing 59 of his 91 pitches for strikes and facing two above the minimum. Right forearm tightness postponed McKenzie’s season (and Double-A) debut until June 7, but the 20-year-old right-hander has quickly made up for the lost time by posting a 3.34 ERA and 0.93 WHIP over his first five starts.

McKenzie finishes with a strikeout

• No. 27 overall prospect Alex Verdugo (Dodgers’ No. 1) collected multiple hits for a third time in four games and finished a triple short of the cycle in Triple-A Oklahoma City’s 4-0 win over New Orleans. The 22-year-old outfielder was perfect at the plate in the victory, going 3-for-3 with a homer, double and two RBIs while also reaching once via a walk. He’s hitting .346/.391/.516 for the season, with seven homers, 16 doubles and 32 RBIs.

Verdugo goes yard

• No. 99 overall prospect Cristian Pache (Braves’ No. 8) hit a leadoff homer in the third four-hit game of his career, backing another strong pitching performance from Joey Wentz (No. 9) as Class A Advanced Florida defeated Jupiter, 6-1. Pache fell a triple short of the cycle from the leadoff spot, finishing 4-for-5 with two RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base to go along with his sixth homer and 16th double. In 73 games this season, the 19-year-old center fielder is hitting .279/.301/.422 with 26 extra-base hits.

Wentz, meanwhile, set a season high with seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings in his third straight scoreless start. The 20-year-old left-hander yielded three hits, walked one and threw 56 of his 82 pitches for strikes. He sports a 0.50 ERA across his last four starts and a 2.51 ERA in 11 turns this season.

Blue Jays No. 7 prospect Eric Pardinho picked up his first professional win behind a dominant performance for Rookie-level Bluefield. Making just the third start of his career, Pardinho — a 17-year-old right-hander whom Toronto signed out of Brazil last July — carried a no-hit bid for four-plus innings before completing five scoreless innings of one-hit ball in which he struck out nine, a career high. The highly touted teenager has been as good as advertised to begin his career, posting a 1.38 ERA with 19 strikeouts and two walks in 13 innings.

Brewers No. 24 prospect Carlos Rodriguez went 4-for-5 with two doubles and scored four runs in his second straight four-hit game in the Dominican Summer League. Signed by Milwaukee for $1.355 million at the outset of last year’s international signing period, the 17-year-old Venezuelan outfielder is slashing .452/.480/.559 with 42 hits through 21 games in his professional debut.

Indians No. 19 prospect Luis Oviedo furthered his dominant start to the season by tossing seven scoreless innings of four-hit ball with seven strikeouts as Class A Short Season Mahoning Valley blanked State College, 2-0. Oviedo also recorded eight ground-ball outs and threw 50 of his 75 pitches for strikes. The 19-year-old right-hander is 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA and 0.52 WHIP through four starts, during which he’s posted 34 strikeouts against three walks while permitting just nine hits (.117 BAA) in 23 innings.

Mets No. 4 prospect Justin Dunn surrendered a first-inning run but settled in quickly and retired 21 of the final 24 batters en route to completing a career-high 7 2/3 innings in Double-A Binghamton’s 2-1 win over Portland. He ultimately allowed two hits, walked two and struck out nine before departing after 104 pitches (69 strikes). Promoted to Binghamton on June 10, Dunn owns a 2.41 ERA with 38 strikeouts and a .188 BAA across 33 2/3 innings (five starts) in the Eastern Custom Rams Jersey  League. Overall, the 22-year-old righty owns a 2.38 ERA with 89 strikeouts and 28 walks in 79 1/3 innings (14 starts) this season.

Nationals No. 4 prospect Seth Romero set a pair of season highs by racking up eight strikeouts over five innings in a no-decision for Class A Hagerstown. The 22-year-old lefty allowed one earned run on one hit with three walks while throwing 51 of his 79 pitches for strikes. After getting a late start to the season following a team-imposed suspension levied during Spring Training, Romero has pitched to a 4.24 ERA with 31 strikeouts in six starts.

Padres No. 14 prospect Josh Naylor‘s third two-homer game of the season was the difference in Double-A San Antoni Cheap Customized o’s 7-6 win over Arkansas. After putting his team on the board with a first-inning solo shot, Naylor blasted a two-run shot in the ninth that provided San Antonio with key insurance runs. The 21-year-old first baseman is hitting .313/.390/.478 with 12 home runs this season, though he’s gone deep just a handful of times since the start of May.

• Reds Competitive Balance Round B pick (No. 72 overall) Josiah Gray was unhittable for a second time in three turns for Rookie-level Greeneville. The 20-year-old righty struck out five and issued one walk while throwing 42 of his 61 pitches for strikes. Gray’s previous hitless outing was his pro debut, a three-inning outing in which he struck out five while facing the minimum.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Eric Thames homer lifts Brewers to 5 Arizona Cardinals Custom Jersey 0th win

MILWAUKEE — Jesus Aguilar had his run in June. Now it looks like Eric Thames‘ turn to power the Brewers’ offense.

Thames connected on Tuesday for his third home run in six games, a laser beam to Miller Park’s short porch in right field that gave Milwaukee the only runs of a 2-0 win over the Twins in which Junior Guerra, Josh Hader and Corey Knebel combined on a two-hit shutout.

View Full Gam Arizona Cardinals Custom Jersey e Coverage

MILWAUKEE — Jesus Aguilar had his run in June. Now it looks like Eric Thames‘ turn to power the Brewers’ offense.

Thames connected on Tuesday for his third home run in six games, a laser beam to Miller Park’s short porch in right field that gave Milwaukee the only runs of a 2-0 win over the Twins in which Junior Guerra, Josh Hader and Corey Knebel combined on a two-hit shutout.

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Video: MIN@MIL: Knebel strikes out the side for the save

Thanks to that combination of power hitting and power pitching, the Brewers (50-35) became the first National League team to reach the 50-win plateau, and remained one game ahead of the Cubs in the NL Central.

“Right before the break, 50 is a great number,” Thames said. “I know the goal number is 90 for every playoff-bound team, so we just have to keep going.”

The Twins were one swing away from making it a very different kind of game in the top of the first inning, when Guerra loaded the bases with one out and was in danger of becoming the fourth Brewers pitcher to surrender a grand slam in as many days. But Guerra escaped, then combined with Hader and Knebel to hold Minnesota scoreless on one more hit — Eddie Rosario‘s one-out single in the fifth — the rest of the day.

Video: MIN@MIL: Guerra tosses five shutout innings vs. Twins

Hader followed Guerra with three hitless innings and Knebel struck out the side in a perfect ninth for his ninth save.

“It was definitely big, especially after two walks, being able to put a zero up there,” said Guerra. “Walks are very lethal, especially for a starter, and I was able to get some outs.”

Of handing it over to Hader and Knebel from there, Guerra said, “I don’t know what the numbers say, but I think it’s the best bullpen out there. You feel very confident that you can give them the ball and they’re going to put zeros on the board.”

Video: MIN@MIL: Hader completes 8th by retiring Kepler

All the Brewers needed was a run-scoring hit of their own. It came from Thames, whose 12th home run came off former Brewers pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi with one out in the fifth inning and represented the third of Milwaukee’s four hits.

Recent callup Nate Orf started the inning with a pinch-hit walk and logged his first career stolen base before scoring his first MLB run on Thames’ homer.

Video: MIN@MIL: Orf collects first career stolen base

After taking a few weeks to find his footing in the wake of a long stint on the disabled list for surgery on his left thumb, Thames is hitting .295/.392/.568 with three homers and nine RBIs over his last dozen games.

Only Aguilar (five homers and 10 RBIs) has been a bigger threat for the Brewers in that stretch.

“The pain of watching everybody go deep when I was hurt and then coming back and thinking, ‘I’m going to hit,’ and guys are nibbling and pitching around me or fishing me with some stuff — it’s just one of those things,” said Thames. “You’ve got to get a good pitch to hit and drive it, get on base if you can. Hitting in front of [Aguilar], that’s always what you want to do, get on base.”

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
When Twins second baseman Willians Astudillo connected with Guerra’s two-out pitch with the bases loaded in the first inning, Brewers center fielder Keon Broxton wasn’t worried about a grand slam. But he did think the baseball had a chance to find the gap for a run-scoring extra-base hit.

Broxton had a 36-percent catch probability on the play, according to Statcast™, but Broxton covered 98 feet in 5.1 seconds for his third four-star catch in his past five games.

Video: MIN@MIL: Broxton runs down fly ball to escape 1st

“Balls in the gap like that, I never know if I’m going t Customized Falcons Jersey o get there until I get there,” Broxton said. “I just put my head down — I knew he got it pretty well — and took off running. I got close to it and knew I had a chance.”

SOUND SMART
Joe Mauer wore his first baseman’s mitt, of course, though he didn’t need it. Mauer did not record a single putout or assist in Tuesday’s game, making him the first MLB first baseman to go unused since Edwin Encarnacion for the Blue Jays in Baltimore in August 2012. It marked the first time in Twins history that a first baseman went empty-handed.

“Jake Odorizzi. Strikeouts and a bunch of fly balls,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. “There are pitchers in the game right now who have changed where the batted ball is going by where they’re pitching in the strike zone.”

HE SAID IT
“You can ask every team in the league. He’s dominating, primarily with one pitch. I think he’s just kind of a combination of being able to hide the ball and good carry on his fastball. Doesn’t seem to get many down in the zone, pretty much plays the top and you either miss it or you foul it or you pop it up. It’s just tough to square up.” — Twins manager Paul Molitor, on Hader

UP NEXT
Texan Chase Anderson gets the ball on Independence Day for the Brewers as they finish a three-game series against the Twins at Miller Park. It will be Milwaukee’s first look at terrific Twins right-hander Jose Berrios, who is making his second straight start against an NL Central opponent after allowing six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Cubs on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. CT.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Eric Thames

Twi Arizona Cardinals Custom Jersey ns record no putouts at first base in game

MILWAUKEE — When Gabriel Moya struck out Eric Sogard to conclude the eighth inning in the Twins’ 2-0 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park on Tuesday, Joe Mauer trotted off the field doing something that hadn’t been done in six years.

Mauer played all eight innings at first base — and never recorded a putout or assist, making him the first MLB first baseman to go unused since Edwin Encarnacion for the Blue Jays in Baltimore on Aug. 25, 2012. Furthermore, the Twins didn’t record a single assist as a team, the first time that has happened since the Yankees accomplished the feat against the Red Sox on September 2, 2014.

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MILWAUKEE Custom Cardinals Jersey  — When Gabriel Moya struck out Eric Sogard to conclude the eighth inning in the Twins’ 2-0 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park on Tuesday, Joe Mauer trotted off the field doing something that hadn’t been done in six years.

Mauer played all eight innings at first base — and never recorded a putout or assist, making him the first MLB first baseman to go unused since Edwin Encarnacion for the Blue Jays in Baltimore on Aug. 25, 2012. Furthermore, the Twins didn’t record a single assist as a team, the first time that has happened since the Yankees accomplished the feat against the Red Sox on September 2, 2014.

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Video: Twins complete game without record Women’s Nike Customized Atlanta Falcons Elite Away White NFL Football Uniform ing an out at first

It’s the sixth time in the past 20 years and the first time in Twins history that there was an entire game in which one of the first basemen had zero putouts and zero assists.

“It’s pretty unbelievable to be a part of something like that,” Mauer said.

Jake Odorizzi hurled five innings of two-run ball and struck out nine Brewers. He also induced five flyouts. In relief of Odorizzi, Ryan Pressly (three strikeouts in one inning) and Moya (four strikeouts and two flyouts over two innings) also never  Arizona Cardinals Custom Jersey gave Mauer a chance for a play.

Customized Falcons Jersey ideo: MIN@MIL: Pressly fans Broxton, K’s the side in 6th

“I was made known of that fact that there wasn’t a ground ball, which is a baseball oddity,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Can’t really explain that, other than the Odorizzi we know is a fly ball guy.”

Brewers manager Craig Counsell kept his credit for the oddity to Odorizzi’s ability to challenge Brewers hitters for the second time this season. He threw 5 1/3 innings and allowed one run when the teams met in May.

“Jake Odorizzi. Strikeouts and a bunch of fly balls,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “There are pitchers in the game right now who have changed where the batted ball is going by where they’re pitching in the strike zone. He’s challenging hitters up out of the strike zone. We’ve seen most pitchers [in the past] challenge batters down and below the strike zone. He’s a guy who does the opposite and today the results were kind of extreme.”

Video: MIN@MIL: Odorizzi strikes out Braun to end 1st

The Brewers are one of the least likely clubs to accomplish the feat. Entering Tuesday’s game, the Brewers had the third-lowest fly ball percentage (32.0) in the Majors, the third-highest ground ball percentage (46.9), and the sixth-highest strikeout rate (24.0). Milwaukee usually strikes out or records outs on the ground — but that wasn’t the case against the Twins.

Ironically, Jesus Aguilar didn’t have too many opportunities for putouts either at first base for the Brewers. Aguilar’s first play was an unassisted putout of Bobby Wilson to end the fourth inning. The Twins only grounded out four more times in the loss.

Stephen Cohn is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen__Cohn.


Minnesota Twins

Nate Orf gets curtain call after first h Arizona Cardinals Custom Jersey omer

MILWAUKEE — Nate Orf had no idea what was coming.

Orf had just recorded his first career hit, a solo home run that would ultimately be the difference in 3-2 win over the Twins, and was still catching his breath after getting his first taste of the Brewers’ “home run gauntlet.”

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MILWAUKEE — Nate Orf had no idea what was coming.

Orf had just recorded his first career hit Custom Cardinals Jersey , a solo home run that would ultimately be the difference in 3-2 win over the Twins, and was still catching his breath after getting his first taste of the Brewers’ “home run gauntlet.”

View Full Gam Arizona Cardinals Custom Jersey e Coverage

The next thing Orf knew, he was being lifted into the air by teammates Jesus Aguilar and Man Custom Atlanta Falcons Jersey ny Pina, while the Miller Park crowd of 36,700 showered him with applause.

“I didn’t even think about it,” Orf said. “I was just pumped that I got a hit. They picked me up, and that’s when I noticed they wanted a curtain call. Next thing I know, I’m in front of all the fans on their shoulders.

“It was awesome. It just s Customized Falcons Jersey hows what kind of guys we have here, everyone is rooting for each other. That’s one of those moments I just wanted to embrace. Look at the crowd, and give them some respect.”

It’s just another chapter in what’s been a surreal week for Orf, who is in the big leagues for the first time after an unlikely path to the Majors that began when he signed with Milwaukee for $500 as an undrafted free agent back in 2013.

“[Orf has] gone through everything,” Counsell said. “I’m glad it happened that way.”

Orf was batting .307 with six home runs and 39 RBIs at Triple-A Colorado Springs this season. He earned his first big league callup Monday, as the Brewers try to find some kind of offensive solution at shortstop while Orlando Arcia works out of a funk down in the Minors.

With Tyler Saladino likely back soon after a lengthy stay on the disabled list, Orf knows there’s no guarantee he’s sticking around for the long term. So in the meantime, he’s trying to make his moments count.

“You’re never guaranteed a day in the big leagues,” Orf said. “You have to stay humble through it all. … I just have to continue with that attitude as many days as I get.”

Andrew Wagner is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Nate Orf

Christian Yelich r Arizona Cardinals Custom Jersey eturns from back injury

MILWAUKEE — After missing nearly a week with a sore back, Christian Yelich was back in the Brewers’ starting lineup for Wednesday’s 3-2 win over the Twins at Miller Park.

Yelich has been everything the Brewers had hoped for when they sent a package including top prospect Lewis Brinson to the Marlins in January in order to acquire the former Gold Glove Award winner and Silver Slugger Award winner.

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MILWAUKEE — After missing nearly a week with a sore back, Christian Yelich was back in the Brewers’ starting lineup for Wednesday’s 3-2 win over the Twins at Miller Park.

Yelich has been everything the Brewers had hoped for when they sent a package including top prospect Lewis Brinson to the Marlins in January in order to acquire the former Gold Glove Award winner and Silver Slugger Award winner.

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Yelich finished 1-for-4 and is batting .288 with 11 home runs, 34 RBIs and 10 stolen bases this season, and he is second on the team (among qualifiers) with a .362 on-base percentage.

“Christian’s biggest strength is that he’s a solid, all-around baseball player,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He adds in every area of the game. Those guys [like Yelich], you don’t know how they’re Custom Cardinals Jersey  going to help you that day, and I think he helps us in a lot of different areas.

Video: MIN@MIL: Yelich robs Mauer of hit in return to action

“The first thing you think of, though, is he’s a good hitter. He’s a solid, consistent presence for us. You miss that.”

Counsell said that he thought Yelich “got over the hump” in his rehab process on Monday. The outfielder got his first taste of action Tuesday afternoon, taking over in left field for the ninth inning of the Brewers’ 2-0 victory over Minnesota.

“I’ve been trying to get back in there,” Yelich said. “I feel ready to go, and we felt like today was a good day to give it a try.”

While Yelich is back, the Brewers will still be without center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who’s been out since June 24 with a strained left groin.

Cain was eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday, but instead, he went through another full workout on the field.

“We’re close, we’re just not there yet [with Cain],” Counsell said. “We have to get over that last hurdle where there’s no sign of it for him, and we’re just not there yet.

“The fact that he’s on the field, that he’s running the bases … I think that’s a pretty good sign that he’s doing well. We just have to take one more step, but there’s no timeframe in that.”

Ryan Braun has also missed games with a bad back recently, and he was not in the starting lineup Wednesday. He pinch-hit for Jeremy Jeffress in the bottom of the eighth, and he played left field for the top of the ninth, shifting Yelich over to right. 

Sore thumb for top prospect

Keston Hiura, the Brewe Customized Falcons Jersey rs’ No. 1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was out of Double-A Biloxi’s lineup again Wednesday as he deals with a mild strain of his left thumb.

The injury happened last Friday, when Hiura was running to first base and bumped his thumb into the first baseman’s glove. He remained in the game, but the thumb got sore as the game went on, and he has been out since.

Hiura is expected to miss a few more games, but he doesn’t appear headed to the disabled list, Brewers farm director Tom Flanagan said in an email to MLB.com.

Milwaukee’s first-round selection (No. 9 overall) in the 2017 MLB Draft, Hiura earned a promotion to Double-A Biloxi on June 1 after batting .320 with 16 doubles, seven home runs and 23 RBIs in 50 games for Class A Advanced Carolina.

In 24 games with Biloxi, Hiura is batting .326 (30-for-92) with 11 doubles and an .891 OPS.

Andrew Wagner is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Christian Yelich

Solo homer Arizona Cardinals Custom Jersey s boost pitching in Brewers win

MILWAUKEE — There was no shortage of heroes — or fireworks — as the Brewers celebrated Independence Day Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park.

The day began with Milwaukee players honoring veterans of the Armed Services, featured a trio of solo home runs — including the first of Nate Orf‘s career — and a game-saving grab by Keon Broxton, and it ended with a 3-2 victory over the Twins.

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MILWAUKEE — There was no shortage of heroes — or fireworks — as the Brewers celebrated Independence Day Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park.

The day began with Milwaukee players honoring veterans of the Armed Services, featured a trio of solo home runs — including the first of Nate Orf‘s career — and a game-saving grab by Keon Broxton, and it ended with a 3-2 victory over the Twins.

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Video: MIN@MIL: Brewers recognize Honor Flight Veterans

“From the seventh inning on, there were a lot of [momentum] swings, and most of them went in our favor,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell, whose team swept its seventh series of the season.

Travis Shaw got things started with a solo home run off Minnesota right-hander Jose Berrios to open the second inning. It was Shaw’s first home since he took Cleveland’s Cody Allen deep on June 5.

Since then, Shaw had been scuffling, in part because of a sore right wrist that had kept him out of four games over the last month. Counsell noted before the game that Shaw had been putting together good at-bats, and he was confident that the third baseman’s power numbers would return.

“[Shaw has] been watching a lot of video, looking for adjustments to make,” Counsell said. “He made a little adjustment, and it really paid off for him today.”

Chase Anderson made Shaw’s home run hold up through the sixth inning. Anderson only allowed one Minnesota runner into scoring position all day, and two hits in all before Brian Dozier led off the seventh with a double to left.

Video: MIN@MIL: Anderson holds Custom Cardinals Jersey  Twins to 1 run over 6 1/3

Dozier moved to third on Eduardo Escobar‘s chopper to first, and Counsell went to the bullpen, summoning right-hander Jeremy Jeffress.

“[Anderson] was pitching very, very well, but it was so tight — a one-run game,” Counsell said. “It was also very hot, extremely hot on the field.”

Jorge Polanco dropped a bloop single into shallow left, tying the game at 1 before Jeffress worked out of the inning, and Milwaukee got the run back quickly when Brad Miller opened the seventh with a solo home run off Berrios, who’d only allowed three hits — including the Shaw homer — through his first six innings of work.

Video: MIN@MIL: Miller clubs go-ahead solo homer in the 7th

The crowd was still stirring from Miller’s home run when Orf came to the plate with one out. The infielder h Arizona Cardinals Custom Jersey ad narrowly missed a grand slam in his big league debut Monday, and he was still in search of his first big league hit when Berrios hung a 2-2 slider that Orf dropped just over the fence in the left-field corner to make it a 3-1 game.

“[For Orf] to get [his first hit] that way in a big spot in the game [is special],” Counsell said. “Brad obviously gave us a lead with a big swing [before that]. That’s as happy as you’ll see our dugout, for sure.”

 Video: Must C Curtain Call: Orf hoisted up after 1st hit, HR

Jeffress kept the Twins off the board in the eighth, and Corey Knebel took over for the ninth, getting a quick out when Eddie Rosario flied out to left. Dozier followed and ripped a 1-0 fastball to center that Broxton pulled back over the wall to take away a sure home run.

Escobar followed with a solo shot of his own, cutting the deficit to one, but Knebel escaped and earned his 10th save of the year when Max Kepler flied out to right.

“[Knebel] was going through the same three hitters who led off the ninth yesterday,” Counsell said. “Those are good hitters.”

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
An inning after Shaw put Milwaukee on the board, the Brewers threatened to break the game open against Berrios in the third. After Broxton reached on an error by Dozier to lead off the inning, he took second with his second stolen base of the season, and Eric Thames followed with a one-out walk.

Video: MIN@MIL: Kepler throws out Thames, call stands in 3rd

Christian Yelich came up a and hit a drive to deep right that Kepler hauled in at the wall. Broxton tagged up and easily reached third, while Kepler made a spot-on throw to shortstop Polanco, who applied the tag as Thames slid into second. Umpire Doug Eddings, who drew the ire of fans with a missed call in the series opener, called Thames out. Counsell challenged, but after a review of 1 minute and 36 seconds, the call stood and th Women’s Nike Customized Atlanta Falcons Elite Away White NFL Football Uniform e threat was over.

SOUND SMART
Orf became the 10th player in Brewers history to hit a home run for his first big league hit and the first since right-handed pitcher Tyler Cravy did it against Pittsburgh on Aug. 27, 2016.

HE SAID IT
“I didn’t even think about it. I was just pumped that I got a hit. They picked me up, and that’s when I noticed they wanted a curtain call. Next thing I know, I’m in front of all the fans on their shoulders. It was awesome.” — Orf, on teammates Jesus Aguilar and Manny Pina putting him on their shoulders for a curtain call after his first career home run

UP NEXT
Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (6-3, 3.71 ERA) gets the start Thursday when the Brewers open a four-game series with the National League East-leading Braves at Miller Park. Chacin has been Milwaukee’s most consistent starter this season, leading the staff with 18 starts and 97 innings of work.  Customized Falcons Jersey He’ll face off against Atlanta lefty Max Fried (1-2, 2.55 ERA), who struck out 11 over 4 2/3 scoreless innings after he returned to the big leagues for the first time in a month his last time out.

Andrew Wagner is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.


Milwaukee Brewers

Arizona Cardinals Custom Jersey Keon Broxton makes homer-robbing catch at wall

MILWAUKEE — Keon Broxton waited all season to get back to the big leagues. And with Milwaukee’s outfield close to full health again, he knows his stay could be short, so he’s making the most of what could be a limited opportunity.

Broxton made the highlight reel again Wednesday, reaching an arm’s length over the wall in the ninth inning to rob Twins second baseman  Custom Cardinals Jersey Brian Dozi Customized Falcons Jersey er of a certain home run in the Brewers’ 3-2, sweep-clinching victory.

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MILWAUKEE — Keon Broxton waited all season to get back to the big leagues. And with Milwaukee’s outfield close to full health again, he knows his stay could be short, so he’s making the most of what could be a limited opportunity.

Broxton made the highlight reel again Wednesday, reaching an arm’s length over the wall in the ninth inning to rob Twins second baseman Brian Dozier of a certain home run in the Brewers’ 3-2, sweep-clinching victory.

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“That was incredible,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

The 28-year-old hit 20 home runs and stole 21 bases for the Brewers in 2017, but has spent this season with Triple-A Colorado Springs after the team added Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich during the winter, creating a log jam in the outfield.

Broxton finally joined the team on June 26 when Cain was placed on the disabled list, and quickly made an impression. He reached base four times, homered twice, scored three times and drove in four in a victory Friday at Cincinnati — a game in which he also turned a baserunning blunder into a scoring opportunity — then capped it all off with a diving grab to rob Scooter Gennett in the ninth inning.

Video: MIL@CIN: Broxton rips 2 HRs, steals a run, robs a hit

A few days later, he crashed into the wall at Great American Ball Park to take extra bases away from Scott Schebler, then, in the series opener Monday, reached over the wall to pull back a Joe Mauer home run.

“He’s making a play a day,” Counsell said. “Sometimes it feels like you’re exaggerating, but he’s really making a play a day.”

Video: MIL@CIN: Broxton’s makes 41% probability catch

Wednesday’s catch, though, migh Women’s Nike Customized Atlanta Falcons Elite Away White NFL Football Uniform t have been his most impressive, because of the effort required and the eventual impact on the game’s outcome.

“Dozier hit more of a line drive than a pop fly, so I had minimum time to get back there to the wall,” Broxton said. “I got back there, I saw it was still pretty high, I had to jump higher than I usually had to — so yeah, that was definitely one of the best that I’ve ever made.”

It turned out to be a crucial play, too, as Eduardo Escobar followed with a home run to right, drawing the Twins within a run before closer Corey Knebel got out of the inning and earned his 10th save of the season.

Video: MIN@MIL: Knebel retires Kepler to record the save

“It was fun, that was a fun play to make right there, and to especially help out the pitcher,” Broxton said. “My big thing is just watching the pitcher’s reaction after that happened. That’s my satisfaction. It was a lot of fun, and I’m glad I could be in position to make it.”

Broxton also inadvertently stole the spotlight from teammate Nate Orf, who recorded his first big league hit an inning earlier with a home run to left. Orf had played alongside Broxton at Colorado Springs until his own call-up this weekend, and didn’t mind sh Custom Atlanta Falcons Jersey aring the spotlight.

Video: Must C Curtain Call: Orf hoisted up after 1st hit, HR

“That was amazing,” Orf said. “I’ve watched him do athletic stuff and make plays all year. To see him do it at that moment … that was one of the best plays I’ve ever seen. But in the ninth inning, to get the team the win, that was just awesome.”

Andrew Wagner is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.


Milwaukee Brewers,
Keon Broxton