Historically, Braun among best hitters vs. Cubs

Having played for the Milwaukee Brewers his entire career — and thus in the same division as Chicago — it should come as no surprise that Ryan Braun is near the top of the active hit leaders against the Cubs.

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Braun has compiled 193 hits against Chicago pitchers in his first 12 seasons — that’s his most against any other MLB club and only Albert Pujols (196), formerly of St. Louis, and Yadier Molina (195), longtime Cardinals catcher, have more vs. Chicago among active players. Joey Votto, who has spent his entire career in Cincinnati, is next with 177 and former Pittsburgh standout and current San Francisco outfielder Andrew McCutchen is fifth with 163.

Where does that rank Braun historically? Well, keep in mind there were fewer teams years ago and no interleague play. With stats available beginning in 1908 via baseball-reference.com, 112 players have recorded 200+ hits against the Cubs, with Stan Musial leading the way with 492. The players Braun has to leap over to be No. 113 (at least before Pujols and Molina) are Barry Bonds, Willie McCovey and Jackie Robinson (199), Marty Marion and Curt Walker (198), Jose Cruz, Sherry Magee and Jack Smith (197), Pujols, Bobby Thomson and Honus Wagner (196) and Molina and Andy Van Slyke (195). Among those listed, only Magee and Wagner played before 1908.

Braun has made the most of his times up, though, against the Cubs. Among players with at least 135 games played vs. Chicago, Braun is 14th all-time in batting average at .332 (he’s also 13th in on-base percentage at .409). Among the 13 players with a better batting average, nine are Hall of Famers.

BEST BATTING AVERAGES VS. CUBS SINCE 1908 (min. 135 games)

PLAYER G AB H AVG
Rogers Hornsby 264 990 360 .364
Paul Waner 361 1340 474 .354
Jack Fournier 144 499 171 .343
Chuck Klein 203 757 258 .341
Ernie Lombardi 282 889 302 .340
Bill Terry 257 949 322 .339
Arky Vaughan 265 943 319 .338
Richie Ashburn 276 1091 366 .335
Ted Simmons 193 688 230 .334
Lou Brock 256 1024 342 .334
Al Oliver 201 789 263 .333
Danny Litwhiler 144 493 164 .333
Tony Gwynn 168 660 220 .333
Ryan Braun 153 581 193 .332

While Braun’s 33 home runs are tied for 35th most against the Cubs, his slugging percentage ranks ninth — with every retired player ahead of him in the Hall of Fame (and the one behind him).

BEST SLUGGING PERCENTAGES VS. CUBS SINCE 1908 (min. 135 games)

PLAYER G AB SLG
Frank Robinson 202 726 .625
Albert Pujols 182 659 .613
Willie Mays 358 1338 .611
Mike Schmidt 269 971 .598
Ralph Kiner 160 552 .592
Rogers Hornsby 264 990 .591
Hank Aaron 347 1340 .589
Duke Snider 287 949 .589
Ryan Braun 153 581 .583
Johnny Mize 220 825 .572

Other notes:

— The Cubs have been shut out in back-to-back games. Chicago hasn’t gone scoreless in three straight since 1992, when it was blanked in four consecutive contests.

— The Brewers are hitting an MLB-best .346 with two outs.

— Milwaukee has the second-lowest ERA among bullpens so far this season at 1.32. However, the Cubs are No. 1 at 0.69.

Statistics courtesy STATS and baseball-reference.com