Braun an on-base machine in early going

Braun an on-base machine in early going

Braun an on-base machine in early going
PHILADELPHIA -- Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is "hunting mistakes" instead of just swinging, according to his manager, who believes that's why the All-Star is off to such a solid start in 2011.

Braun singled in the first inning Wednesday and has reached safely in each of the Brewers' first 18 games. The Elias Sports Bureau says he is the first Brewers hitter to do so since Hall of Famer Paul Molitor reached in the first 19 games in 1991. The club record belongs to another Hall of Famer, Robin Yount, who reached safely in the Brewers' first 23 games in 1983.

"And he's got Prince [Fielder] behind him," manager Ron Roenicke said. "That's what's amazing."

Braun entered Wednesday batting .373 with a team-high five home runs, 12 RBIs and a .493 on-base percentage. After collecting two hits and two walks Tuesday against the Phillies' Roy Halladay, Braun said he was "proud" of his approach so far.

Roenicke also praised Fielder, who entered Wednesday batting .338 with three homers, 17 RBIs and a .419 on-base mark. It's all about hunting mistakes and largely refusing to swing at the rest, Roenicke said.

"If the two of those guys will do that, we're going to have a fun year," Roenicke said. "The best 3-4 combination I saw was Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. The reason they were the best was both of those guys would never chase balls out of the zone, even when people were on base.

"I would see Manny with a runner on third base, where everybody want to pick up that RBI, and you get 3-and-2 on him and throw a pitch two inches off the plate, he takes it, goes to first and then here's David Ortiz. They did that all the time. Over the course of the year, you score so many more runs when you do it that way."