Nursing a strained calf, Braun could miss a third straight game as the Brewers try to regroup from their latest defeat Tuesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Braun, the NL top vote-getter for next week’s All-Star game, was hurt Saturday when Milwaukee (45-41) rallied for an 8-7 win at Minnesota. He then watched as the Brewers blew a five-run lead in a 9-7 loss Sunday and the same cushion in Monday’s 8-6 home defeat to Arizona.
Batting .320 with 16 homers, 62 RBIs and carrying a career-best 22-game hitting streak, Braun is not sure if he will be back Tuesday.
“Obviously I want to play, but at the same time I have to listen to what everyone else says,” Braun told the Brewers’ official website. “It’s the type of thing that you could easily re-aggravate or make far worse, and I don’t want that to happen and have to miss a couple months.”
One game behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central, Milwaukee likely can’t afford that after losing six of seven.
“Anytime you lose games that you think you should win, it does a little something to you. If it happens a lot of times, it ends up mentally bothering you,” said manager Ron Roenicke, whose Brewers are 29-12 at Miller Park and have not lost consecutive games there.
The left-hander allowed four runs in five innings of a 6-2 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday to fall to 0-3 with a 7.26 ERA in six starts since winning his 2011 debut at Houston on May 28.
“You want to see better results and for him you worry about his confidence,” manager Kirk Gibson said.
Duke would not mind seeing Braun out of the lineup, considering the slugger is a .368 hitter with two homers against him. Teammate Prince Fielder(notes) is batting .333 with three home runs and two doubles off Duke.
Fielder had two hits Monday but has homered just twice in his last 20 games.
“It was a really nice comeback, we needed it to get your momentum going, get your confidence back,” said Montero, who had three hits with two RBIs. “We picked each other up and had a couple of opportunities and we failed, but we just came back and kept pushing.”
Back in the majors for the first time since 2008, Pena has five home runs and seven RBIs in 13 games.
The left-hander was 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA over his previous four starts before allowing four runs in seven innings of a 5-0 loss at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.