Broxton rewards Crew's patience with 4 RBIs

May 10th, 2017

MILWAUKEE -- Last year, it was one big adjustment that lifted Brewers outfielder out of a slump. This year, it has been a series of small ones.

Broxton's surge continued Tuesday, when he drove in four runs and finished one hit shy of the cycle for the second time in five days in the Brewers' 11-7 win over the Red Sox. On Thursday in St. Louis, Broxton lacked only a triple. On Tuesday at Miller Park, where his big night began with a two-run home run in a five-run first inning, Broxton was missing a double.

"It's not unlike last year, really, if you stop and think about it," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He had a monster game for us. He's capable of those big things when he gets going."

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That capability explained Counsell's patience with Broxton through a slow start in his sophomore season in the Majors. Broxton was hitting .119/.196/.214 through his first 14 games, with strikeouts in half of his 42 at-bats.

Then, he started hitting. In his last 15 games, Broxton is slashing .383/.463/.702 with 12 runs scored and nine extra-base hits. He has reached safely in nine consecutive games, and his four RBIs against Boston marked a career high.

"It's just always been a process, from the start of the season to now," Broxton said. "Just finding your contact point, finding your base, finding your foundation in your swing and gradually, day by day, it's gotten better. It's just really starting to get consistent now."

A season ago, the fix was more dramatic. During his third demotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs, Broxton lowered his hands from near his shoulders to his midsection, and when he returned to the Majors in late July, he posted a .937 OPS in his final 169 plate appearances before a broken wrist ended his season.

That production is what prompted Counsell to stick with Broxton.

"I think early in the season, my hands weren't really getting to a good spot, and I wasn't sinking in my legs very well, I was leaking forward," Broxton said. "I call it traveling, and I was leaking forward a lot. But now I've kind of sunk into my legs a little bit more, and I've been able to stay back."

Counsell's patience has paid off.

"Like we said, it's a six-month season," the manager said. "There are stretches where guys are hot, there are stretches where they're cold. Keon is just kind of getting to 100 plate appearances, and if you look back at his first 100 plate appearances, they're pretty good now, if you look back at them. The season goes in waves. Especially these young players who have shown us good things, they're going to get a chance to prove it again."