DENVER — Mired in one of the worst stretches of his career, Milwaukee Brewers star left fielder Ryan Braun is getting the day off Wednesday as his team tries to salvage at least one win out of its trip to Colorado.
The day off has nothing to do with any lingering injuries, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. But with few options left to spark Braun at the plate, Roenicke and Braun decided that taking a mental day would be the best choice.
“Sometimes we talk about guys that just need to go out there and play and they’ll get it back, and other times, taking a day off helps,” Roenicke said. “Whatever we’re doing, it’s not working lately. I’ve never seen him struggle this long.”
After Tuesday’s 0-for-5 performance in which Braun struck out once with the bases loaded and flied out to end the game with the tying run on first base, Braun is 6-for-42 in his past 10 games and hasn’t hit a home run since Aug. 1. Braun’s average has dipped below .300 for the first time since May 7 and sits at .299. The defending National League MVP still leads the NL with 29 home runs, but his lead over St. Louis’ Carlos Beltran has been cut to one.
Roenicke met with Braun after Tuesday’s game to suggest taking a day off to recharge, something Braun has been very much against in the past. But Roenicke said Braun thought about it extensively and still wasn’t sure Wednesday morning.
“He said, ‘Well, do you think this will be best for me?’ ” Roenicke explained. “I said, ‘I don’t know.’ And he said, ‘Nothing else is working, so why don’t we try it.’ It was a little of both of us trying to figure it out.”
The day off isn’t expected to extend into another day, as the Brewers begin a four-game series with the Phillies in Milwaukee starting on Thursday.
“He’s frustrated,” Roenicke said. “I don’t want to say it’s the worst that I’ve seen him. When he’s doing well, he gets frustrated if he takes an 0-for two days in a row. … I think he’s more baffled at why it’s lasting this long because it usually doesn’t.”