Luck turning? Braun cracks pair of 2-run shots

Outfielder's expected batting average in 2018 nearly 40 points higher than actual average

August 14th, 2018

CHICAGO -- 's lack of offensive production this season has been the result of bad luck rather than lack of skill.

Braun's throwback performance Tuesday in the Brewers' 7-0 win over the Cubs was the latest example of the market correction he's been enjoying over the last few weeks. He went 2-for-4 with a pair of two-run homers in the contest. Over his last 15 games, he is batting .375 with four home runs and a .668 slugging percentage.

"I know it sounds crazy because I'm hitting .255," Braun said, "I've hit the ball really hard. I've just been incredibly unlucky."

That's not an exaggeration. In fact, Braun has been one of the most unlucky offensive players in the league.

Entering Tuesday's game, Braun's expected batting average was .292, according to Statcast™. His expected slugging percentage (.518) was 73 points higher than what he was actually slugging.

Manager Craig Counsell, hitting coach Darnell Coles and general manager David Stearns all have talked to Braun and reassured him that at some point, his numbers would start to reflect the way he's been playing.

"Ryan has obviously hit the ball incredibly hard the entire year," Stearns said. "He's performed well against lefties the entire year. And it's important that he recognizes that."

Braun had no trouble hitting the ball hard against a lefty on Tuesday. He smacked a hanging curveball from for his first home run of the game, which put the Brewers up, 3-0, in the first inning. His second homer, which came in the third, had an exit velocity of 108.8 mph and landed in the last row of the Wrigley Field bleachers, 443 feet away, according to Statcast™.

For the most part, Braun hasn't been too concerned with his slash line. It's frustrating, yes, but he's remained confident in his approach.

"I'm sure with normal luck, I'd have a .900 OPS or something in that range right now," Braun said. "That's just the way the game goes sometimes.

"You hope that if you continue to hit the ball hard, it'll start to fall. I've seen a little more of that recently, and hopefully, it evens out over the next six weeks."