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1st-inning offense powers Brewers’ hot streak

July 8, 2015

It’s no secret that increased offense has fueled the Milwaukee Brewers’ recent hot streak. But where exactly is that offense coming from?

It appears the key to their outburst has been the first inning.

Over their last 16 games, the Brewers have slashed .383/.444/.617 in the first inning with 22 runs scored on 31 hits, including five home runs and four doubles. They’ve outscored opponents 22-5 in the opening frame, which has accounted for 25 percent of their 89 total runs over the same stretch.

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The Brewers have gone 12-4 since June 23, winning four straight series before dropping the first two games to the Atlanta Braves. In the four losses, the Brewers scored just two first-inning runs, while plating 20 in the 12 wins.

This boost in early run production leading to wins follows a seasonlong trend for the Brewers. They’re 27-14 when scoring first, and just 10-36 when their opponent scores first. The 22 first-inning runs also have helped make the frame the Brewers’ most productive.

Through June 22, the Brewers’ best inning had been the third, with 37 runs. The first and fourth innings were tied for second at 32 runs. They’ve now plated 54 runs in the first, 10 more than their new second-best mark of 44 runs in the fifth.

Gerardo Parra, Ryan Braun and Adam Lind have been particularly impressive during the team’s first-inning hot streak. They’ve combined to go 18-for-36 (.500) with four home runs, 11 RBIs, 10 runs scored and three doubles.

Parra has jump-started the Brewers with three leadoff home runs, to go along with a pair of singles and a double. Braun hasn’t produced as many runs, but has six hits in 12 at-bats, with three runs scored and a pair of RBIs. Lind has gone 6-for-10 with a two-run homer, two doubles, six RBIs and two runs scored.

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First-inning run production leading to wins is hardly surprising. But what makes the Brewers’ recent stretch impressive is the extended nature of the production.

Eleven times in two weeks they have scored in the first inning. Six of those innings featured multiple runs and 10 had multiple hits, including a six-run outburst on June 26, in which they went 6-for-11 with a home run, double and four singles.

This rate of production is hardly sustainable, but it does offer one clear takeaway. The earlier the Brewers score, the better their odds of winning.

Sounds simple enough, right?

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