As season winds down, Fielder steps up
Slugger is NL Player of Week, carrying slumping Brewers
When times get tough during the course of a season, the true stars on a team really emerge. They're the ones that stay positive, never lose focus and are able to pick up their teammates.
Throughout last week's chaos, Prince Fielder has been just that for the Brewers.
In a week that started with manager Ned Yost being dismissed and ended with the Brewers going 2-4 in a time when the National League Wild Card is within reach, Milwaukee's first baseman did what stars do -- carrying his team through the fire and keeping them alive as the season winds down. Because of that, he was named the Bank of America National League Player of the Week for the second time in his career.
Fielder will go into the final week of the regular season riding a 12-game hitting streak that has him batting .435 (20-for-46). For the month of September, the 24-year-old is batting .319 (23-for-72) with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 19 games.
"He's really picked us up and put us on his back," left fielder Ryan Braun said. "He's carried us this month. He's been the only guy swinging the bat well. He's about the only reason we have won the games we have won."
Last week, Fielder hit .462 (12-for-26) with a .533 on-base percentage, three home runs, 11 RBIs and a National League-leading 27 total bases. Included in that were four multihit games, three multi-RBI games and a 1.038 slugging percentage as Milwaukee faced off against a pair of NL Central rivals, the Cubs and Reds.
For obvious reasons, the series against the first-place Cubs was crucial. And although the Brewers dropped two of three, Fielder stepped up big time. In a 5-4 loss on Tuesday, the left-handed-hitting slugger went 3-for-5 with two home runs, a double and three RBIs.
In the sixth inning, after his first of two dingers, he had some words for Cubs fans behind the Brewers' dugout at Wrigley Field.
"I'm at peace with people comparing me to my dad," said Fielder, referring to former big league slugger Cecil Fielder and adding that it upsets him when they don't call him by his name. "I just said, 'You're gonna say my name before the night's over.' My name's not Cecil."
Fielder definitely proved himself, finishing strong the rest of the night and coming back the following day with three hits and three RBIs in the Brewers' 6-2 win.
Now, with interim manager Dale Sveum steering the ship, the Brewers head into the final six games of the regular season 1 1/2 games back of the Mets in the NL Wild Card race after starting the critical final month of the season 5-15. They'll be at home to finish it off as they face the Pirates and, again, the Cubs, and will have to turn it around if they hope to avoid collapsing down the stretch for the second straight year.
"It takes guts to stay positive," Fielder said. "There is that failure part where people get passive and that fear of failure comes in. Then you're playing -- not scared -- but you're not letting your natural ability come out. I think it takes a lot more courage to be aggressive."
Alden Gonzalez is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.