The following is a detailed look at the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player voting:
When Ryan Braun was notified of the NL MVP results, he immediately proceeded to call his mother, his agent, and then Green Bay Packers quarterback and fellow Cali-native Aaron Rodgers, who Braun calls his “best athlete friend.” His message to the leader of the 11-0 Packers was clear: your turn. Rodgers, forever a Wisconsin legend thanks to his Super Bowl XLV MVP performance, has the inside track for the MVP award this season and was happy for his pal. “I’m proud of him,” Rodgers said in an ESPN interview, “he had an incredible season.” Rodgers was also thankful to play in front of the best fans around. “It’s fun to know that he’s going to be in Milwaukee for a long time,” he said. “I’m hopefully going to be here for a long time, and we appreciate the opportunity to play in Wisconsin for sports teams and their fans who really care about their players.” Braun may now have the award, but Rodgers has the title – something Braun craves. “[Rodgers has] accomplished far more in his sport than I have in mine,” stated Braun, “it inspires me to try to get better and ultimately to win a championship of my own for the Milwaukee Brewers.” One day, Milwaukee. One day.
Randy Wolf dazzled in St. Louis Thursday night to knot the National League Championship Series at 2 games a piece. With the 4-2 victory, Milwaukee guaranteed a game 6 at Miller Park (where they have a MLB-best 61 wins this season) and also snapped an eight-game road losing streak in the playoffs dating back to 1982. The Brewers were in desperate need of a quality start from someone not named Gallardo, and Wolf delivered the most clutch performance of his career. The crafty southpaw dominated Cardinal hitters through seven innings, striking out six while allowing one walk and six hits en route to his first postseason win. His only two blemishes were solo home runs by Matt Holliday and Allen Craig. The familiar K-Rod / Ax-Man combo finished off the game in the final two innings. To nobody’s surprise, Jerry Hairston continued his exquisite postseason play, smacking two doubles and a RBI. Ryan Braun, Yuni Betancourt, and George Kottaras also chipped in with RBIs, as the Brewers climbed out of an early 2-0 hole to rattle off four unanswered runs.
The win, in my opinion, was the biggest in franchise history. The Brewers send Zack Greinke out to face Jaime Garcia tomorrow night in a pivotal Game 5 in St. Louis. It seems as if the Cardinals bats have gone silent; they are 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position since the first inning of Game 4.
Game 6 will be in Milwaukee on Sunday night. Go Brewers!
No, that’s not a typo. The Milwaukee Brewers clinched their first division title in 29 years today when they defeated the Marlins 4-1 and the Cubs topped St. Louis 5-1. In an eerily similar scene to 2008, Ryan Braun crushed what turned out to be a game-winning three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth with chants of “MVP” coming from the stands. It was an electric atmosphere in Miller Park with the players anxiously watching the Cubs-Cards game on the big screen right along with fans. What a moment for a squad built from the ground up. Teammates Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Yovani Gallardo and Prince Fielder have experienced all of the ups and downs together over the years. There is not a fan base or group of players around that deserve a division title more. John Axford locked it down in the ninth to tie a franchise record with 44 saves. With a spectacular full-extension diving catch turned double play and a super clutch three-run bomb, Ryan Braun all but locked up the National League MVP award in my opinion. There’s not much more to be said about the Brewers that hasn’t been said already; and with that, Milwaukee fans can look forward to next Saturday when the NLDS begins. Go Brewers!!! 11 wins away from a World Series title…
Ryan Braun solidified his case for NL MVP (if he hadn’t already) with a two home run performance during a Friday night win in Cincinnati. The two blasts made Braun the second Brewer to accumulate 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season, the first being Tommy Harper in 1970. “I’m really proud,” said Braun. “There’s a reason it’s only been done one other time in franchise history. It’s a hard thing to do.” The Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-3, eliminating them from playoff contention, while the Brewers shrunk their Magic Number to 7.
Oh yeah, Wolf got the win to improve to 13-9, Prince went deep for his 33rd, Kotsay and Kottaras also went yard, and Axford picked up his 43rd save (40th in a row).
Here are Braun’s numbers and National League rank in each category.
AVG: .330 (2nd)
OBP: .396 (4th)
SLG: .590 (1st)
OPS: .986 (1st)
HR: 30 (T-8th)
RBI: 99 (5th)
R: 100 (T-1st)
SB: 31 (T-7th)
Milwaukee southpaw Randy Wolf cruised into the seventh inning with a 7-1 lead over the New York Mets Saturday afternoon at Citi Field. Then things began to unravel. The Mets scored five runs in the seventh and three in the eighth to take a 9-7 lead into the ninth inning. However, Milwaukee wasn’t ready to pack it in quite yet. The final act of the game began when Jason Isringhausen took the hill, the rest as they say, is history.
Lucroy walked, Morgan walked, Hart singled.
Then Kotsay walked, scoring Lucroy. 9-8, Mets.
Isringhausen exited, Acosta entered. Braun flew out.
With 1 out, Fielder singled on an 0-2 pitch, scoring Morgan. 9-9.
McGehee then took the first pitch he saw and pushed a grounder through the hole scoring Hart and Kotsay to give the Brewers a 11-9 lead. Then, as is usual, the Ax Man locked it down 1-2-3, earning his 34th straight save and 37th overall.
Milwaukee picked up K-Rod, who got roughed up in his return to the Big Apple. But as good teams — championship caliber teams — do, the Brewers never gave up and stunned Citi Field. Prince Fielder was in full beast mode, going 2-for-5 with a single, home run (28), and four RBI, pushing his season total to a National League-leading 96. Yuniesky Betancourt cranked out his 10th long ball. Ryan Braun went 1-for-3 with a homer (24), two walks and three runs scored. His season batting average sits at .327.
The Brewers have now won 21 of 24 and extended their division lead to 8.5 games, the largest in franchise history.
Dodgers 1, Brewers 3
Milwaukee is all business. With yet another victory at Miller Park, the Brewers held on to a seven game lead in the National League Central. Zack Greinke (12-4, 3.92) continued the trend of Milwaukee’s stellar starting pitching, tossing seven innings and limiting the Dodgers to one run on five hits, walking three and striking out eight. Greinke set a franchise record for the most wins without a loss to start a career as a Brewer, as he improved to 9-0 at Miller Park. Jerry Hairston Jr. drove in two runs and Ryan Braun went 1-for-3 to maintain his .329 average. John Axford earned his 36th save of the year, tying him for the most in the senior circuit and giving him 33 straight. The Brewers are on a six game winning streak and now have the second best record in the National League.
The Brewers have won 19 of 21 and go for a four-game sweep of LA tomorrow as Marco Estrada faces Cy Young candidate Clayton Kershaw. According to Mark Kotsay, Milwaukee has found their identity — pitching. With a handful of top end starters, a back end of the bullpen that can rival any in the Bigs, a dynamic duo of MVP hopefuls, and savvy veterans with playoff experience, the Milwaukee Brewers may be giving the city a reason to forget 1982.
There’s something special going on in Milwaukee, Wisconsin these days. The dog days of summer are upon us and the Milwaukee Brewers are hotter than ever — scorching, if you will. Milwaukee has stellar pitching, a loaded offensive lineup with two MVP candidates, and if that wasn’t enough, they began to really flash the leather Monday night at Miller Park.
With a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Brewers improved to twenty games over .500 on the year (71-51) and thirty games over .500 at home (45-15). Milwaukee is 17-2 in their last 19 games and has a six game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central.
Randy Wolf (10-8, 3.30) was masterful as he went eight scoreless innings, allowing only six hits while walking five and striking out five. He was also the beneficiary of some beautifully crafted defensive gems. Wolf got Andre Ethier to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the first inning. In the second, the Brewers turned the first triple play in the National League this season and the sixth in franchise history. Wolf surrendered a lead-off walk and single to put runners on first and second (Matt Kemp was running on the single but was forced to slide into second base thanks to Josh Wilson’s bluff, making Kemp think it was a ground ball therefore preventing him from reaching third on the hit-and-run). James Loney then broke his bat on a cue shot up the middle; Wilson smoothly fielded and flipped the ball with his glove to Yuniesky Betancourt who threw to Prince Fielder at first base to turn two; Kemp, trying to score from second base on the play, was then thrown out by Prince at the plate thanks to a diving tag by George Kottaras; 4-6-3-2 (the first triple play of that sort since 1973 — 151 triple plays have occurred in between the two). In the third inning, Jerry Hairston Jr. threw out Dodgers catcher Dioner Navarro at home. The fourth inning ended with a double play when Hairston made a diving catch in center then promptly stood up and threw out Ethier at first who was attempting to tag. In the bottom half of the fourth, Ryan Braun capitalized off of Lilly’s lone mistake and deposited his 23rd homer into deep left center on a 0-2 pitch with two outs, giving the Crew a 1-0 lead. The fifth inning saw a 3-6-1 double play, also courtesy of James Loney — who had his first two at-bats result in five outs. Wolf finally had his first 1-2-3 inning in the sixth, getting two ground ball outs with a strikeout of Ted Lilly squeezed in between. With the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, Wolf got Navarro to fly out to Hairston. Jonathan Lucroy entered the game for Kottaras in the eighth and unleashed on a fastball, cranking out his 9th home run of the season and putting the Brewers up 2-0. Corey Hart followed by launching his 18th long ball into right field, giving the Crew a 3-0 lead. John Axford closed the door again, thanks to a game ending double play, Milwaukee’s fourth of the game. Axford earned his 32nd consecutive save and 35th of 2011. Ryan Braun went 2-for-4 on the night, raising his batting average to .328 and stealing his 23rd bag along the way.
With a 1-0 victory over the dwindling Bucs and a St. Louis loss to Colorado, the Milwaukee Brewers pushed their NL Central lead to five games. The Brewers have won 15 of 17 ballgames and are 18 games above .500 (69-51). Yuniesky Betancourt’s second inning solo blast was all Milwaukee needed Saturday as Marco Estrada (3-7, 4.46) pitched five scoreless innings in his first start since May 4. Brew Crew closer John Axford locked up his 34th save in 36 chances, working around a lead-off triple to earn his 31st save in a row. In case you haven’t noticed, Brewer hitters who reach base safely have recently begun to incorporate a new celebration — an arms out bear hug gesture paired with a gnarly, monstrous scream. Nyjer Morgan calls it “Beast Mode,” yet the origins are a bit more innocent. The actual story behind the grand display of fierceness comes courtesy of Prince Fielder. “It’s from Monsters, Inc.,” states Prince; “That’s my kids’ favorite movie. The whole team does it now. It’s something that I saw my kids do, and I thought it was funny, so I thought I might as well do it, too.” The whole team seems to have caught on, and turning to the dugout and waving your arms in a “scary” manner has become second nature to Milwaukee’s heavy hitters.
Milwaukee scratched out another one-run victory at Miller Park courtesy of Casey McGehee’s first inning, two-out, two-RBI triple which was sliced sharply down the right field line. Prior to McGehee’s triple, Ryan Braun saw his bat split in two and the ball drop just inside the foul line in right field, scoring Corey Hart who smacked a double off of Cubs’ starter Ryan Dempster to lead off the game. Chris Narveson earned the victory, allowing two runs on eight hits over five innings. He left in the sixth with the bases loaded and nobody out, but Kameron Loe would pick up his teammate by getting consecutive ground balls to get Milwaukee out of the inning unscathed. K-Rod was sharp in his Miller Park debut and Axford closed the door for his franchise record tying 25th save in a row. On another note, with the Florida Marlins late scratch of first basemen Gaby Sanchez, Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder became the only player in baseball to start each and every game for his respective squad. Prince has been in the starting nine for all 104 games for the Brew Crew, as well as the All-Star game (in which he earned MVP honors). Ryan Braun notched three base hits in Tuesday’s game, raising his batting average to .326 on the season, second in the National League. The Mets’ Jose Reyes, the senior circuit’s leading hitter, went 0-for-5 Tuesday, lowering his average to .346. The Brewers’ send Zack Greinke to the hill tomorrow to face Chicago’s Carlos Zambrano. As of now, the Brewers sit a half game back in the tightly contested NL Central.