Rockies-Brewers Preview

The Milwaukee Brewers should be thrilled to start a nine-game

homestand.

They’ll have even more reason to be excited if Ryan Braun is on

the field for it.

Braun might not be available to the Brewers on Friday when they

face the Colorado Rockies in the opener of a three-game series at

Miller Park.

Milwaukee (21-23) owns the best home record in the NL at 13-6,

batting .305 with 26 homers. The Brewers are 8-17 on the road,

where they’re batting .220 and have hit 10 fewer home runs in six

more games.

The Brewers’ success at Miller Park may be in for a significant

test. Braun, who has been putting together MVP-caliber numbers with

a .305 batting average, 12 homers and 34 RBIs, had to depart

Thursday’s 1-0 loss at San Diego in the fifth inning due to a sore

left shoulder.

“It happened (Wednesday) in the game,” said Braun, who first

felt the soreness on a swing. “I tried to play through it.

“(Thursday), I was trying to get through it but it just got to

the point where I didn’t think I could contribute. Once it gets to

that point, it makes no sense to play.”

Braun, whose status for Friday is uncertain, has been a major

reason for the Brewers’ home success, batting .338 with eight

homers and 25 RBIs at Miller Park. He’s also thrived against

Colorado (23-19) during his career, batting .380 with six homers

and 20 RBIs in 28 meetings.

Braun is batting .415 during a 20-game hitting streak versus the

Rockies.

With or without its star left fielder, Milwaukee will try for a

four-game home winning streak when it gives the ball to Zack

Greinke (2-1, 6.60 ERA).

The right-hander has won his last two starts – both at home –

despite a 5.73 ERA.

Greinke’s most recent effort started well, as he tossed four

scoreless innings Sunday before surrendering five runs and getting

pulled after the fifth in a 9-6 win over Pittsburgh.

“I kind of felt stronger,” said Greinke, who missed all of April

due to a broken rib. “I should be finishing that a little bit

better. I feel good now. Once the results start to get better,

maybe I’ll feel a little bit better about things.”

While with Kansas City, he split a pair of starts against the

Rockies while yielded 11 runs over 10 2-3 innings.

Colorado won for the third time in four games Thursday, beating

Philadelphia 7-1 as Jason Giambi belted three homers and drove in

all seven runs, a career high.

“It’s nice to contribute and get an opportunity to play,” said

Giambi, who started at first base because Todd Helton had a stiff

back. “It’s exciting, something you dream about.”

Giambi may be in the lineup again, but he’s only started seven

games this season and is batting .194 with four homers and 11

RBIs.

Jason Hammel (3-3, 3.71) is scheduled to take the mound for

Colorado, looking to build on his 3-0 record and 2.95 ERA in three

career starts against the Brewers. He won his only start at Miller

Park on June 9, 2009, allowing two runs in six innings.

Beating Milwaukee again would keep Hammel from dropping a third

consecutive start.

The right-hander may have endured his worst performance of 2011

on Sunday, when he gave up a season-high six runs in 6 1-3 innings

of an 8-2 loss to the Padres.