CINCINNATI -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke wasn't in Milwaukee last season, but he's done enough number crunching to know he likes what he's been seeing from the heart of the lineup.Through his first 198 at-bats this season, No. 3 hitter Ryan Braun walked 31 times and his .414 on base percentage ranked fourth in the National League. The left fielder didn't chase many pitches out of the zone during the Brewers' just-completed series against the Giants as he walked four times, three in one game. Braun has also been more patient within at-bats. Of the 180 hitters who currently qualify for the batting title, Braun ranked 32nd -- and best among Brewers regulars -- with 4.06 pitches per plate appearance. "He's done an outstanding job," Roenicke said. "He's a guy that has the ability to probably hit balls that are out of the zone, but I think that's why he's doing so well. If he stays with his numbers, even though he walks more, his numbers are going to be just as good, if not better." Heading into Tuesday's game, Braun's 40 runs led the NL while his 39 RBIs ranked eighth and his 12 home runs tied for sixth. Braun walked 56 times last year and through the month of May had 21 walks, 27 strikeouts and 33 RBIs during 198 at-bats. Roenicke said it's the walk to strikeout ratio that tells him just how good a player sees the ball. The manager said it's rare to see players with nearly the same number of strikeouts as walks, but heading into Tuesday's game, Braun's 31 walks and 37 strikeouts were a close ratio. "I think the walks and strikeouts are a result of seeing the ball well, and the more strikes you swing at the better chance you give yourself to have success," Braun said. "I think the goal isn't necessarily the walk to strikeout ratio, I think it's to make sure the pitches we do swing at are pitches we can do something with." Together Braun and cleanup hitter Prince Fielder had the most RBIs (81) of any tandem in all of baseball through Monday's games. Fielder, tied for third in the league with 42 RBIs, has walked 26 times, struck out 27 times and his .388 OBP helps drive Milwaukee's lineup. "The best 3-4 hitters I've been around were Manny Ramirez and Papi [David Ortiz]. And the reason was because they walked," Roenicke said. "If you had runners on second and third and you had a 3-2 count and you threw the ball two inches off the plate, they just took it and walked, loaded the bases and the next guy would drive them in." Braun and Fielder are in the same stratosphere, Roenicke said. "They're scary because they don't chase out of the zone," Roenicke said. "If you're going to get them out you have to throw pitches on the plate, which is scary because they can hit it all."
Wilson's milestone homer goes unmarked
CINCINNATI -- Newcomer Josh Wilson hit his first Brewers home run on Monday night, but he didn't bother to track down the baseball for his memorabilia collection."They lost the ball from my first Major League hit, and since then I haven't really worried about it," Wilson said. That hit was Oct. 2, 2005, the last day of the Florida Marlins' season. One of the team's photographers talked Wilson into giving him the ball and said he would have it framed with the lineup card from that day's game. But Wilson was traded to the Rockies in January, and he never saw the ball again. "I've been back there multiple times since, asked all of the guys I'd known down there," Wilson said. "Nobody knows where it is. I don't really care anymore. It's just a ball, and it's no big deal." Wilson has had plenty of firsts in his career. He's only played parts of five Major League seasons but has appeared for seven different teams -- the Marlins, Nationals, Rays, D-backs (twice), Padres, Mariners and Brewers. He's been claimed off waivers five times. So Wilson was glad to find a role with the Brewers almost immediately. He joined the team Friday, took his first at-bat and played his first inning at shortstop on Sunday, then delivered a pinch-hit home run in the fifth inning on Monday off Reds left-hander Travis Wood before a 7-3 loss. "It's really nice to get in there right away," Wilson said. "Otherwise you feel like furniture."
Brewers win in May, fans win in June
CINCINNATI -- The Brewers' successful month of May means discounted tickets for the first series at Miller Park in June.For each May win, the team knocked $1 off the price of loge outfield and terrace box seats for the June 7-9 series against the Mets at Miller Park. Tuesday's win at Great American Ball Park gave the Brewers a 17-12 record for the month, so those tickets will go for $13 and $4, respectively, plus service fees. The discounted tickets go on sale Wednesday at 9 a.m. CT at Brewers.com/winwin. There will be a limited number of tickets available for this promotion, and fans will be allowed to purchase a maximum of eight tickets per game. "Brewers Win, You Win!" has proven to be one of the team's most popular promotions. In 2009, the Brewers tied a franchise mark with 18 wins in May, which resulted in a $10 loge outfield ticket for a series against the Rockies. Those seats sold out quickly after going on sale.
Reliever Takashi Saito threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday afternoon and is scheduled for more mound work on Friday in Florida. He's working back from a left rib cage strain that delayed his return from an earlier hamstring injury. "I felt really good out there," Saito said through his interpreter. "Next time, I'm going to throw more pitches. I don't feel anything [in his ribs] anymore."
Right fielder Corey Hart was back in the lineup again Tuesday and reported feeling much better. He lasted only five innings the day before after sitting out Saturday and Sunday with an illness that sapped his strength. He hit a three-run homer off Cincinnati's Chad Reineke in the third inning.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Audrey Snyder is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.