Ryan Braun launched into the second half of the season with his sixth career grand slam on Friday night, setting a new franchise record in the process. It was his first slam since 2015, putting him just ahead of former Brewers Jeromy Burnitz, Cecil Cooper and John Jaha, who previously shared a four-way tie with Braun for the most grand slams in club history.
The blast capped a monster of an inning for the Brewers, who stockpiled eight runs in the second as they took the lead and then some. With the bases loaded and one out against Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta, Braun unloaded a first-pitch, 400-foot home run to dead center field to give the Brewers an 8-2 lead:
Braun entered Friday’s series opener with 10 home runs and a respectable, if underwhelming .259/.342/.545 batting line through 161 PA. The grand slam certainly helps, though he still has a ways to go to match the .305 average and 30 homers he produced for the club in 2016.
The run support proved crucial for Milwaukee starter Zach Davies, who handed Philadelphia another four runs in the fifth and sixth innings with a two-RBI single from Maikel Franco and a two-run homer from Odubel Herrera. The Brewers currently lead the Phillies, 9-6, in the bottom of the sixth.
Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.
Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.
The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.
In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.