MILWAUKEE — Jonathan Lucroy took off, not known for his speed, but fully aware that the Milwaukee Brewers had been dominating the Pirates already this game when it came to stealing second base.
And sure enough, Lucroy’s slide was in time, beating Pirates catcher Rod Barajas again. Barajas, statistically one of baseball’s worst catchers when it comes to catching base-stealers, had already been battered by the Brewers’ speedsters, but Lucroy’s stolen base was a new low — a catcher beating another catcher at his own game.
The Brewers would steal seven bases against the Pirates, only the third time they’ve managed to do that in franchise history and the first time since 1992. And after the game, Lucroy had earned the right to boastfully joke about his newfound ability to steal bases.
“I try to keep it hidden a lot,” Lucroy said, smiling. “I don’t want to embarrass (Ryan Braun) and (Carlos Gomez) and stuff. I kind of have to let them have their stolen bases and tone it down a little bit.
“It’s hidden in there. You have to really dig it out to find it, but it’s in there.”
It’s been that kind of month for the Brewers though, as the attitude around the Miller Park clubhouse has been particularly light lately. And with the ease of seven stolen bases on their plate after Tuesday’s series opening, 6-0 win, there’s no doubt that that attitude will likely continue.
Especially when things key elements of playing winning baseball — successful baserunning and home run hitting — seem to come so easily as of late. In fact, at this point in the season, no National League team has stolen as many bases or hit as many home runs as the Brewers have.
The primary contributor to that equation has been outfielder Ryan Braun, who continues to play at a blazing MVP pace. On Tuesday, he didn’t happen to add to his NL-leading 40-home run total, but he did add three stolen bases (for a total of 27 on the season), moving ever closer to putting together back-to-back 30 home run-30 stolen base seasons.
Braun hasn’t been the only one adding to those league-leading numbers though. Rookie outfielder Nori Aoki has been very impressive on the basepaths in the second half of the season, tallying his 27th stolen base of the season on Tuesday. And Carlos Gomez, who has long been known for his blazing speed, continued his torrid stolen base pace, adding his team-leading 33rd stolen base against the Pirates. One more from Rickie Weeks gave the Brewers one of the best base-stealing performances in franchise history.
Combine that with the fact that Milwaukee has put together two straight shutouts, both of which featured zero extra-base hits from their opponents, and the Brewers are playing as good of baseball as they have all season long.
“I liked it,” Roenicke said of the stolen base effort on Tuesday. “I think the jumps were all good. They were good times to go, and we had the opportunity every time we’re on second base (to knock them in) . . . we got a few of them. That was a good game.”