Over the course of his 13-year career in Major League Baseball, outfielder Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers has done a lot of damage against a lot of opposing teams.
Braun, who served a 65-game suspension back in 2013 after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) during his 2011 National League MVP-winning campaign, has blasted 331 home runs over that career.
The Philadelphia Phillies have been victimized by Braun more than most, to the point that he is now high on the list of “Phillie-killers”, those players who consistently do damage when the two teams meet.
Over 74 regular season games played against the Phillies, 72 of those as starts, Braun is slashing .378/.417/.711 with 25 home runs, 71 RBIs, and 44 extra-base hits with a 1.129 OPS. He even hit the Phillies during the one postseason series between the two clubs. During that 2008 NLDS he delivered five hits and a pair of RBIs. Ironically, he went 0-4 in the lone Brewers victory of that series.
At Citizens Bank Park, Braun has ripped successive generations of Phillies pitching to the tune of a .406/.453/.804 slash line with 14 homers and 43 RBIs over 36 games.
During Tuesday night’s 6-1 victory for the Brewers, Braun crushed his ninth home run of the season. It was just another successful night in South Philly for the now 35-year-old slugger, who is enjoying his best power year since the 2016 season.
In addition to that tainted 2011 NL MVP Award, Braun has finished among the top three in the voting in two other seasons. He was the 2007 National League Rookie of the Year and is a six-time NL All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger.
After manager Craig Counsell sat him out for the previous three Brewers games, using him only as a pinch-hitter, Braun was back in the starting lineup to torture the Phillies last night. Fans who head down to the ball park tonight can expect to see him in there again, looking to continue his onslaught.
The Brewers (25-19) trail the first-place Chicago Cubs by 2.5 games in the NL Central Division race, but are five games back in the loss column. The Phillies (24-17) are 3.5 games up in the NL East Division standings, three in the loss column over the New York Mets.
Coming into this series, the Phillies had been finding a way to win despite consistently dropping their series openers. This time around they won that opener. In order to capture their fourth series in a row the Phillies need to slow down Braun and beat the Brew Crew on Wednesday night in this third of a four-game set.
WEDNESDAY STARTING LINEUPS
- Andrew McCutchen CF
- Jean Segura SS
- Bryce Harper RF
- Rhys Hoskins 1B
- J.T. Realmuto C
- Cesar Hernandez 2B
- Sean Rodriguez 3B
- Phil Gosselin LF
- Jake Arrieta P
- Lorenzo Cain CF
- Christian Yelich RF
- Ryan Braun LF
- Mike Moustakas 3B
- Jesus Aguilar 1B
- Keston Hiura 2B
- Manny Pina C
- Orlando Arcia SS
- Gio Gonzalez P
SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP
- Jake Arrieta: 4-3, 3.78 ERA, 1.320 WHIP, 47 hits allowed over 50 innings across eight starts with a 42/19 K:BB.
- Arrieta has six Quality Starts among his eight outings this season, but has lasted just five frames in two of his last three.
- The Phillies right-hander has made 17 career starts vs the Brewers, going 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA, allowing just 69 hits over 100.2 innings. Arrieta lost both starts vs Milwaukee in 2018, giving up 8 earned runs and 11 hits over 8.2 innings.
- After surrendering three home runs in his most recent start last Friday in Kansas City, Arrieta has now given up eight long balls on the year. His current 1.4 HR/9 is the highest since second big-league season back in 2011.
- Gio Gonzalez: 1-0, 1.69 ERA, 0.938 WHIP, 11 hits allowed over 16 innings across three starts with a 12/4 K:BB.
- Gonzalez has given the Brewers three straight starts of 5+ innings since his promotion after starting the season with three starts for Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre.
- The lefty signed with the Brewers as a free agent on April 27 after being released by the Yankees five days earlier. He had signed on with the Yanks back in spring training after splitting last season with the Brewers and Nationals, the latter of whom he pitched with from 2012-18.
- Gonzalez was once Phillies property, having been obtained from the Chicago White Sox as part of the Jim Thome – Aaron Rowand deal in 2005. The Phillies sent him back to the Chisox a year later along with Gavin Floyd in a trade for Freddy Garcia.
BRUCE WILLIS THROWING OUT FIRST PITCH
Golden Globe and two-time Emmy Award-winning actor Bruce Willis has starred in many films shot in the Philadelphia area: “The Sixth Sense”, for which he won a People’s Choice Award, and “12 Monkeys” among them. Willis family moved from Germany, where his father was in the U.S. military service, to New Jersey when he was just two years old. He grew up a Phillies fan in Carney’s Point, New Jersey and was a graduate of both Penns Grove High School and Montclair State University in New Jersey. He is taking batting practice prior to the game tonight and will be throwing out the honorary first pitch.
Actor Bruce Willis moonlighting as a pitcher for the Phillies. pic.twitter.com/VzFWduNDT3
— Dan Gelston (@APgelston) May 15, 2019
PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES
- Maikel Franco has the second-best fielding percentage among all National League third basemen. After handling four chances cleanly on Tuesday night, Franco has gone 30 games since making his lone error of the season back on April 9. However, he is hitting just .042 in his career over 24 at-bats against Gonzalez, and so is out of the starting lineup on Wednesday.
- Bryce Harper remains one of just four hitters in the National League with 25 RBis and 25 walks on the season. Two of the other three are playing in this series: Rhys Hoskins and Christian Yelich. Harper leads all of Major League Baseball with 163 walks since the start of the 2018 season. Harper and Andrew McCutchen are the only NL hitters with at least 25 runs scored and 30 walks this season.
- Cesar Hernandez has 45 hits this season, second-most among all NL second basemen. He is slashing .348/.415/.522 since April 10, though without much run production.
- After throwing out Orlando Arcia trying to steal second base and Lorenzo Cain trying to swipe third last night, Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto leads all of Major League Baseball with 15 runners thrown out this year, more than twice as many as the next highest backstop.
- Jean Segura singled in the first inning last night, upping his first inning average to the .469 mark this year.
- The Phillies currently have four right-handed relievers on the Injured List who were expected to be bullpen keys: David Robertson (right arm flexor strain), Victor Arano (right elbow), Tommy Hunter (right arm flexor strain) and Edubray Ramos (right biceps tendonitis). Ramos is expected to return next week, Arano possibly within two. Hunter hopes to begin a minor league rehab by the end of the month, and Robertson hopes to be back by the end of June.
- Scott Kingery began a minor league rehab stint last night at Lakewood. He is expected to play twice this week at Double-A Reading and then return to the Phillies as a super-utility player this coming weekend.
WEDNESDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION
- Wednesday May 15 at 7:05 pm vs. the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park in South Philly
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION:
- Jerad Eickhoff and Phillies offense struggle in Tuesday night loss to Brewers
- Larry Shenk’s Phillies Minor League Report: 5/15/19
- Rhys Hoskins anchoring Phillies lineup, becoming legit early MVP candidate
- Phillies take a series opener from Brew Crew despite five hits from LoCain
- Resilient Phillies have been winning despite dropping series openers