Adam Stern is making his first start tonight as the Brewers try to snap their nine-game hitting streak, but that’s far from the most interesting development. It appears that manager Ken Macha has flipped Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder in the batting order, moving Fielder up to third and dropping Braun to the cleanup spot. We’ve got some ideas here in the press box, but let’s wait to get the explanation from Macha.
Fielder, by the way, is 3-for-37 lifetime against Pirates starter Paul Maholm with 11 strikeouts. Braun is 17-for-38. Here’s the full lineup:
Rickie Weeks 2B
Alcides Escobar SS
Prince Fielder 1B
Ryan Braun LF
Casey McGehee 3B
Corey Hart RF
Gregg Zaun C
Adam Stern CF
Chris Narveson LHP
Here’s a trip down memory lane to the last time Fielder hit third and Braun fourth. It was April 2008
, and when both players got off to a slow start they asked then-hitting coach Jim Skaalen to flip back to the way they batted the previous season. Manager Ned Yost agreed, and made the change
for a Sunday series finale at Shea Stadium.
Braun said at the time that he was excited about the move and called it, “Mentally, a fresh start for both of us.”
“I don’t think it had anything to do with us being uncomfortable where we were at,” Braun said then. “I think it was more of us being more comfortable with me being three and him being four. We understood the logic behind [the other configuration], but it gets to the point where neither one of us is having too much success, and it feels like it is in our best interests and the best interests of the team to at least try it.
“We’re certainly not swinging the bats the way we were last year. So why not? We’re both definitely excited about the change.”
Added Fielder: “Whatever works. This game is all mental, anyway. It’s never physical.”
ONE MORE NOTE… Since that flip-flop, Fielder has started 350 of the Brewers’ 353 games and batted fourth in every one of them. Until tonight.