MILWAUKEE (AP) — After dropping two of three games to the division-rival St. Louis Cardinals to start the season, Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers now must hit the road.
And given the damage to Braun's reputation in a tumultuous offseason that ultimately ended with his potential 50-game suspension for a positive drug test being overturned, the NL MVP is well aware of the reception he might get from opposing fans. It starts with a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs.
"I don't think I've ever been there and had them applaud me so I don't expect anything different," Braun said.
Lance Lynn pitched two-hit ball into the seventh inning and the Cardinals beat the Brewers 9-3 on Sunday. Braun hit his first home run of the year, a solo shot with the game well out of reach in the ninth.
"It's not about me, it's about the team," Braun said. "We lost the game so it's disappointing. Beyond that, you always want to have good at-bats. I felt like, all series, I put together good at-bats and swung the bat pretty well."
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke likes what he has seen so far from Braun, who also hit two deep flyouts Sunday.
"It was good to see," Roenicke said. "He just missed two others. Ryan is taking some really good swings, he's seeing the ball well."
Corey Hart had a solo homer in the fifth for Milwaukee after hitting a pair of home runs Saturday.
"To see him coming in and being as locked-in as he is, it's a huge boost to our line up," Braun said of Hart's hot start.
After a rough start to the season, Braun's first road trip isn't the only intriguing storyline that will play out against the Cubs, who now are managed by former Brewers coach Dale Sveum.
"We love Dale," Braun said. "He was good to us and means a lot to our whole organization. It'll be great to see him but hopefully we make it rough for him."
Meanwhile, new Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez faces his former team.
"I think a lot of times, that player that leaves and comes back does great, and then there's the player that comes back and tries so hard to do well that he gets out of his game," Roenicke said. "So it's hard to say which way Aramis will go."