Crew not intimidated by inside pitches

Crew not intimidated by inside pitches

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers are once again proving very adept at hitting pitches, and getting hit by them.

Milwaukee entered play Tuesday leading the National League with 26 home runs and leading the Major Leagues with 15 hit batsmen, categories in which the team has ranked high in recent seasons.

The Brewers finished third in the NL last season in the home run department after leading the Majors in 2007. Milwaukee hitters tied Florida last season in hit-by-pitches, with 69, and have ranked in the NL's top three every year since 2005.

This year, the Brewers had been plunked five more times than their nearest NL competitor, the Cubs. The Red Sox led the American League through Monday's games with 13 .

"I thought about that, and I think that's a tribute to our hitters," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "If you're trying to intimidate us by throwing inside, that's not happening. You have to back hitters off to get your part of the plate on the outside corner. That's pitching; that's been going on since the game was invented. But we're not going to be intimidated. You're wasting your time."

Brewers slugger Ryan Braun, who absorbed one of three wayward pitches on Monday night (catcher Jason Kendall was the recipient of the others) delivered a similar message. He was seething Tuesday afternoon about the Jeff Karstens pitch that hit him square between his shoulder blades in the third inning, two frames after Braun hit a solo home run.

Braun said the Brewers were, "the wrong team to mess with." He was sure that the plunking was intentional, but he wasn't necessarily mad at Karstens.

"I guarantee you that kid wanted nothing to do with me," Braun said. "It came from somebody else. For sure. [Karstens] wouldn't even look at me.

"Look, when I'm deserving and I get hit, that's fine. I have no problem with that. If people have a problem with me admiring a home run, then plunk me and that ends it. But [Monday] was uncalled for. It was way too high. When I watched it today, it made me even more angry."

Karstens'pitch appeared to hit Braun's name on the back of his jersey.

"I really didn't realize how high it was until I went and saw it on the video," Braun said. "If you want to hit me in the thigh, in the butt, that's cool, man. That's baseball. It's uncalled for, it's unnecessary, but if you want to do that, it's fine. It's all good.

"When you start throwing up and in, that's not OK. That's not something I'm going to stand for and that's not something we're going to stand for as a team. ... I don't know if they were trying to intimidate us, or send a message. Whatever it was, they [messed] up."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.