Crew's mix of present, future proving a winning combo

Chourio homers, makes more history; Hall still working to find form

April 20th, 2024

ST. LOUIS -- One of Brewers manager Pat Murphy’s first sporting obsessions was boxing, a helpful history to describe the ongoing battle of 25-year-old left-hander . Murphy might as well have been talking about 20-year-old outfielder . Or 23-year-old budding closer .

“You have to get punched in the mouth sometimes to know what it’s like to be in a fight,” Murphy said before the Brewers set a season high with 18 hits and matched their season high for runs in Saturday’s 12-5 win over Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

But the Brewers are winning. Hall didn’t make it through the fourth inning in another abbreviated start but Chourio snapped an 0-for-14 skid with a go-ahead home run in the fourth inning for his first road home run in the Majors and Uribe recorded five outs in his third straight scoreless appearance to secure a series win over division-rival St. Louis.

“With youth, that’s how it goes,” said Rhys Hoskins, who hit a two-run home run in the first inning of a three-RBI afternoon. “What’s been cool to see all of our young guys do is take some of the defeat, take some of the failure, internalize it and see how they can get better. ‘Murph’ tends to put guys right back out there, and I think that’s only good for guys’ confidence.”

The Brewers were a confident group after Saturday’s hitting spree left them atop the National League in home runs. After dropping two of three games to the Padres on the last homestand, the Brewers have taken the first two games in St. Louis and improved to 9-2 on the road this season, 4-0 in series play on the road and 5-1-1 in series play overall.

For Chourio, it was a chance to truly celebrate a big-league long ball. His first three home runs came at home in Brewers losses. This -- an opposite-field solo shot moments after Brice Turang hit a tying, two-run home run to almost the same spot -- not only came in a victory, but it supplied the go-ahead run. They were also the Brewers’ first back-to-back home runs this season.

At 20 years and 40 days old, Chourio is the fourth-youngest player since 1900 with at least four HRs in his first 17 career games. The only ones younger all did it before their 20th birthdays: Tony Conigliaro in 1964, Andruw Jones in 1996 and Lou Klimchock in 1958-59.

“Being able to hit it out is something I’m never going to turn down, but it feels better when we’re able to get the win as a team,” Chourio said.

Hall is still searching. He has pitched past the fourth inning in only one of his four Brewers starts including Saturday, when his four-seam fastball averaged a season-low 91.6 mph. Last year, airing it out in short bursts as an Orioles reliever, Hall’s fastball averaged 95.6 and topped out at 99 mph.

“I think there’s a little bit of mental pressure there,” Brewers catcher William Contreras said. “But he’s going to keep learning, keep growing, and I think he’s going to be great.”

Everyone understands the reasons behind Hall’s slow transition. He’s adapting to the rigors and routine of being a full-time MLB starter. There was the timing of the trade that brought him to Milwaukee -- less than two weeks before pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training. Until then, Hall’s role for 2024 was uncertain.

Even Hall acknowledged that he’s working to control his emotions from inning to inning, saying, “It’s getting me a little bit right now.”

“He works quick and he’s attacking but I wonder what his internal clock’s doing,” Murphy said. “I think that’s the one that’s got to slow down.”

Murphy and pitching coach Chris Hook planned to sit with Hall to assess next steps. Murphy stressed, “we believe in the kid, so whatever we end up doing with him it’s going to be in his best interest.”

Does that indicate the Brewers are considering a change?

“There’s got to be adjustments made. We’re not just going to keep rolling the balls out and letting him throw 3 1/3 [innings] and say, ‘that’s fine,’” Murphy said. “It’s not fine. It’s not acceptable. But he’s a young kid, that doesn’t mean he’s not great. It’s just what he’s going through right now.”