ST. LOUIS -- Ryan Braun is having the best power year of his career, and manager Ron Roenicke believes the reason is pretty simple.
"'Brauny' kind of does what he wants to do," Roenicke said. "If Brauny decides, 'Hey, I think I need to hit for more power this year,' he can do it."
And he has. Braun's go-ahead home run in the 13th inning Friday night was his 38th this season, a new career high with 24 games left to add on. It also made Braun the first player in Brewers history to reach 100 RBIs in five different seasons.
He predictably said the team win took precedence.
"It's nice that it came in a big situation to help us win a game," Braun said. "But I've always said that the middle of the season is not a time to reflect on things like that. One hundred RBIs is definitely cool, for the fifth time. It just shows that I've been on some good teams, had some good players around me and gotten opportunities to drive guys in. It's pretty cool that it came in a meaningful situation."
The trade-off for the power has been a slight dip in batting average (.332 last season, .312 entering play Saturday) and on-base percentage (.397 to .387) and an increase in strikeouts (93 last season to 111 this season, in 20 fewer games).
Roenicke suggested that Braun is a special enough hitter to control those levels.
"If Brauny decided, 'Hey, I'm just going to get line drive singles everywhere,' I think he could hit .350," Roenicke said.