DENVER -- The longest home run drought of Ryan Braun's 2012 season just happens to come with him sitting on 29 home runs. Perhaps it is a coincidence. Perhaps not."When you get close to a number, I don't think you necessarily try to force yourself to get there, but you are absolutely conscious of it," Braun said. "Anybody who says they're not, he's lying. Guys say, 'Oh, I didn't even know I was at 99 RBIs.' "Yeah, right." He spoke while stretching in the clubhouse, part of Braun's extensive pregame routine that begins hours before batting practice, and includes weight work, stretching and dips in hot and cold tubs. None of that has changed. "I've said it many times: It's all part of this game," Braun said of his mini-slump. "You go through stretches where you're really good, stretches where you're not so good, and you try to keep your sanity in those bad times." Braun has been enduring some relative bad times, which have been rare in his defense of the National League MVP Award. Including Tuesday's 0-for-5 in an 8-6 loss to the Rockies, he is homerless in 49 plate appearances and 47 at-bats since engaging Astros reliever Fernando Rodriguez in a 14-pitch battle at Miller Park on Aug. 1 that finally ended with a line-drive home run, Braun's NL-best 29th this season.
Since that home run, Braun is 9-for-47 with four doubles, four RBIs and no home runs, for a .191 batting average in that span. On Tuesday, he struck out in the eighth inning and the Brewers trailing, 8-3. He flied out to end the game, representing the go-ahead run.
But Braun astutely points out that this is not his first stretch approximating a "slump" this season. He endured an 8-for-39 stretch with no home runs in April. He came out of that funk with an April 21 home run against the Rockies, then surged into the All-Star Game with 23 homers in his next 67 games."For the most part, I've been really consistent through most of this season," Braun said. "My numbers, month to month, have been really consistent. It just lets me know that the longer I don't go good, the higher the likelihood is that I will have a good game and get locked back in. "I feel good. As long as I feel good, physically, I'm fine. I have no doubt that I'm going to finish the season strong."
Gallardo felt for Fiers during tough start
DENVER -- Yovani Gallardo said he felt fellow right-hander Mike Fiers' pain on Monday night, when Fiers suffered through a rude introduction to pitching at Coors Field.Gallardo had a similarly disastrous Mile High debut in 2007, when he was tagged for 11 earned runs in 2 2/3 innings of a Brewers loss to the Rockies during his rookie season. Fiers surrendered eight runs in two-plus innings on Monday. "It brought that start back," Gallardo said. "I think the following start I didn't do well, also. You just have to forget about it. For me, it was my first time actually struggling." So Gallardo sidled up to Fiers on the dugout bench on Tuesday and told Fiers not to sweat it. Another Brewers rookie will make his Coors Field debut on Wednesday. Mark Rogers rejoined the team Tuesday after traveling home to Arizona for the birth of a daughter, Ellyette Bay, and will pitch right on schedule.
Kintzler promoted to Triple-A as velocity returns
DENVER -- The Brewers promoted right-handed reliever Brandon Kintzler to Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday, marking another step forward in a season that has been marred by a right arm injury.Kintzler reported to camp as a strong contender for the Brewers' Opening Day bullpen but missed most of Spring Training with elbow discomfort that took weeks to diagnose. He eventually reported to Class A Brevard County, then to Double-A Huntsville, and he posted a 3.24 ERA in 37 appearances. Kintzler combined with four other pitchers on a no-hitter for Huntsville on Aug. 2. "They said he's really throwing the ball well again," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "The velocity is back. He's back in the 92-94 [mph] range. He's a guy we certainly have not forgotten about. We'll see how he does at Triple-A, and when we get to September, he will be a name that will be brought up. Whether he comes up or not, he will be brought up [in the discussion]." Kintzler pitched brief big league stints for the Brewers in 2010 and 2011. In another Minor League move Tuesday, the Brewers activated right-hander Johnny Hellweg from Huntsville's disabled list. He was one of the players acquired from the Angels in last month's Zack Greinke trade.