Braun accomplishes rare statistical feat
MILWAUKEE — As if he needed anymore feathers in his MVP-candidate cap, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun added another in the sixth inning of Friday's game against the Astros, darting from second toward third base on a 2-0 pitch from Hector Ambriz to Aramis Ramirez.
Beating the throw to the bag, Braun secured the 30th steal of his already extraordinary 2012, ensuring him his first-ever 40-home run, 30-steal season — just the 11th time that's been done in major-league history. And while the feat has been accomplished 11 times, only nine total players have ever done it — the last being Alfonso Soriano in 2006.
While the 40-home run, 30-stolen base plateau is new for Braun, Friday's steal also marked the second consecutive season in which Braun has reached the 30-30 mark — the first time that's ever been done in Brewers' history.
In pursuit of defending his NL MVP award from last year — a season that wasn't as statistically eye-popping as this one has been — Braun wouldn't reflect too much on putting together the first 30-home run, 30-stolen base total in baseball this season, with the Brewers still mathematically alive in the playoff race.
"It's definitely something that's special to me," Braun said. "I've said many times that the middle of the season isn't the time for reflection … but it's definitely something that's special to me."
It's an accomplishment that's special to his teammates, too, as they remain unsurprised by the feathers constantly being added to their teammate's cap.
"He's a great ballplayer all-around," pitcher Yovani Gallardo said. "A great defensive player, obviously a great hitter, some speed — he does it all. It's great. It's good to see that he's achieving all of that. … You look at the numbers he's put up this year, the things he's done for the ballclub overall, he's come up with some big hits. For us, he is (the MVP)."
Even with the first 40-30 season since 2006, the first 30-30 milestone this season and the first to put together consecutive 30-30 seasons since 2005-2006, Braun will undoubtedly be put under a microscope by MVP voters judging whether he's actually worthy of repeating.
But does Braun feel like he's getting closer to a potential MVP repeat with yet another milestone under his belt on Friday?
"I don't know," Braun said. "I really don't think about things that are out of my control. The biggest focus for me, priority for me is try and play well and help us get to the playoffs. And if that doesn't happen, history has shown us that rarely do guys get rewarded for stuff like that at the end of the season."
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