The Associated Press
Genaro C. Armas
MILWAUKEE–It sounds, at first, like a long, drawn out “Booooo!”
But look at the name on the scoreboard and it becomes apparent what fans at Miller Park are really chanting.
Mike Moustakas has been a hit with fans and teammates with the Milwaukee Brewers since being acquired from the Kansas City Royals two-plus months ago.
They appreciate his solid third base defence, and his left-handed power stroke was key in getting Milwaukee through the NL Division Series.
In the clubhouse, his focused demeanour and extensive post-season experience have made him a source of steadiness for a club playing in the post-season for the first time since 2011.
“Amazing, amazing. He’s a great teammate,” said utility man Hernan Perez, who has a locker near Moustakas.
“He’s been in this situation.”
Moustakas and current Brewers’ centre-fielder Lorenzo Cain helped Kansas City reach the World Series twice, including their championship run in 2015.
Moustakas is one step away from a Series return with Milwaukee.
Game 1 of the NL Championship Series against the L.A. Dodgers is tomorrow night at Miller Park.
Moustakas hit .364 in a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies in the NLDS with two RBIs.
He had a game-ending, two-out RBI single in the 10th inning in Game 1 and an RBI single in eighth inning of Game 2 to help break open what had been a 1-0 game.
A cool hand in tense moments. Exactly what Milwaukee had in mind for its mid-season acquisition.
“The more experience that you can gain, the better off you’re going to be,” Moustakas said before a team workout yesterday.
Overall, Moustakas is hitting .234 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 34 games over eight post-season series.
“But his experience, it’s important. It really is,” manager Craig Counsell stressed last week.
“Making sure we don’t put the result ahead of the process in our at-bats, and I think ‘Moose’ is doing a heck of a job of that.”
His good friend Cain helped ease the transition to Milwaukee, but the Brewers also had to get creative to add Moustakas to the lineup, with Travis Shaw already on the team as the regular third baseman.
Someone had to move.
Shaw accepted a switch to second base–a new position and potentially awkward fit for the 230-pound slugger.
The rationale was that the Brewers employ so many infield shifts, lining up at second wouldn’t be a hard transition.