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Ryan Braun takes over NL home run lead

Jun 20, 2012, 6:07 PM EDT

Ryan Braun, George Kottaras AP

Ryan Braun has, temporarily at least, lost his hold on a starting spot for the National League All-Star team. He does, however, possess the league lead in homers after hitting his 20th today.

He overtook Carlos Beltran, who has been stuck on 19 for a week now.

Braun went 3-for-4 in leading the Brewers to an 8-3 win over the Blue Jays on Wednesday. The homer, off Luis Perez, was his fifth in seven games, and he’s currently riding a 15-game hitting streak.

It seems pretty obvious that Braun’s positive steroid test last winter, even though it was later overturned on appeal, has hurt his popularity. Last year, he was the NL’s leading vote-getter in the All-Star balloting, and he actually has better numbers now than he did at his point in 2011 (though it’s worth noting that his awesome April last year might have stuck better in the voters’ minds then than his down May and June).

Of course, Braun seems awfully likely to start the All-Star Game anyway. First, he’s the obvious choice to DH for the NL if he doesn’t get the lineup spot. Second, he could easily pass Melky Cabrera to reclaim a starting spot in the balloting. Third, he’d likely be moved into the lineup if Matt Kemp, the NL’s current leading vote-getter, isn’t ready to play in the All-Star Game as he recovers from his strained hamstring.

  1. proudlycanadian - Jun 20, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Congratulations to both Braun and Encarnacion for hitting their 20th home runs in the game.

  2. cosanostra71 - Jun 20, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds salute you Ryan Braun

    • sasquash20 - Jun 20, 2012 at 9:06 PM

      He still has the juice muscles going so no surprise that he took the lead. I’ll be impressed if he does this next season. Of course with his kind of scratch I’m sure he has chemist cooking something up as we speak that can’t be detected, so maybe he does have a shot next season.

      • nightman13 - Jun 20, 2012 at 11:20 PM

        Except for the fact that he has been at the same playing weight his whole career. Generally when a guy is taking steroids he gets bigger, that’s kind of the point.

        There is more proof that he’s clean than there is proof that he was dirty. Give it a rest.

      • paperlions - Jun 21, 2012 at 7:58 AM

        Don’t really know how steroids work, do you? I am not saying Braun was juicing, but once off of it…all benefits are typically gone within months, especially if someone was only taking it for a short time.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jun 21, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      ITZ TEH ROOIDS!!!

  3. jxegh - Jun 20, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    Steroids? Heck, I thought it was Mentholatum Deep Heating Rub? My bad…………

  4. mvp43 - Jun 21, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Good for Braun…………not only is he putting up the same numbers (actually slightly better than last year), he’s doing it without Prince fielder batting behind him.

  5. gotmelk - Jun 21, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    I know right! Melky’s only hit .360 this year, was a fastest player to reach 100 hits, and had 51 hits in May. Couldn’t he just roll over so more worthy guys like Braun could, Belran, and Kemp Could start in the all star game? GEESE MATTEW, WHAT DOES HE HAVE TO DO? HIT .600?? MELKY PROVEN THAT HE’S BETTER THAN BRAUN THIS YEAR!

  6. downhillrider - Jun 22, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    virtually nothing has changed since I saw him play at the University of Miami. Deal with it.

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