Keston Hiura and the Milwaukee Brewers have been heating up at the plate, while the Cleveland Indians have been hit or miss with their offense throughout much of the season.
Hiura looks to follow up his first multi-hit performance in more than two weeks on Saturday in Game 2 of the three-game interleague series at Cleveland.
The 24-year-old Hiura ripped a go-ahead RBI double to ignite a four-run seventh inning and belted a two-run homer in the eighth to lift the Brewers (18-19) to a 7-1 victory over the Indians (23-15) on Friday.
Although Hiura has gone deep in back-to-back games to boost his home run total to a team-leading 10 on the season, he still feels that his swing is a work in progress.
“There’s still a lot to work on, getting more on time and getting that foot down a little bit earlier,” Hiura told reporters. “Pitch selection is still a big thing that I’m trying to battle with daily. Being more consistent at the plate.”
Hiura carries a five-game hitting streak into Saturday’s contest for Milwaukee, which has won five of its last seven outings overall.
Hiura may find himself in a different position in the field, however, as Craig Counsell told reporters that he is toying with the idea of moving Hiura from second base to first base.
“I know everybody’s going to get excited, but as we try to figure out the next 24 games, we have to be willing to consider everything to get our best team on the field,” Counsell said prior to Friday’s contest. “So if some scenario has Keston at first base, that may be.”
Milwaukee right-hander Brandon Woodruff (2-3, 3.67 ERA) will get the nod on Saturday in his first start since becoming a father. He traveled home to Mississippi to welcome the birth of his daughter, Kyler, on Monday.
“I’ll focus on baseball when I’m out there playing, but other than that, I’ll be checking on Jonie (his wife) and the baby and making sure they’re doing good,” Woodruff said.
Woodruff will look for a better performance than the one he put forth in his last outing. He allowed two homers and four runs total on four hits in five innings of a 5-1 setback against Pittsburgh on Sunday.
The 27-year-old Woodruff will make his first start against Cleveland, although he has faced Cesar Hernandez (1-for-7, two strikeouts) in his career.
Cleveland’s Tyler Naquin has hit safely in 12 of his last 14 games in which he has had an at-bat. While those are strong numbers, the Indians’ offense runs red hot or ice cold — with the club scoring two runs or fewer in 18 of 38 games this season.
Indians right-hander Aaron Civale (3-4, 3.72 ERA) will provide Woodruff’s opposition as he looks to rebound from allowing a career-high five earned runs in a 7-2 setback at St. Louis on Sunday.
“Not ideal to give up five in six innings, but I did my best to go out there and minimize damage, do some damage control and get through as many innings as I could,” Civale said.
Civale, 25, will be making his 18th career start on Saturday and first versus Milwaukee.
–Field Level Media