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Brewers take Keston Hiura out of the lineup for Tuesday night’s game against Reds

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The sophomore slugger is in another low-contact slump as the Brewers chase a playoff spot

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Just about everyone in the Brewers’ lineup has scuffled in this odd 2020 season, but few have struggled as much as Keston Hiura.

Despite that, manager Craig Counsell has been intent on having Hiura try to find his way out of his two-month long sophomore slump. He had been the only Brewers regular not to get a day off during the shortened 60-game season — until now.

With the team looking for more offense as they make a playoff push with 7 games to go, Hiura will be on the bench when tonight’s game against Cincinnati starts.

Hiura leads the team with 13 home runs, but has struggled to consistently make contact. He’s struck out in 34.4% of his plate appearances this year — up nearly 4% from last year, and the second-highest rate in the National League this year (only Colorado’s Ryan McMahon is higher at 36.1%, although Miguel Sano, Evan White, Willy Adames and Joey Gallo are all higher in the AL).

Hiura’s line has fallen to .215/.308/.436 on the season during his most recent cold streak, in which he’s 2 for his last 15 with 10 strikeouts.

He’s whiffed on 43.5% of his swings this year, up from 36.2% last year, but he’s still somehow managed to sting the ball when he does make contact, ranking in the 92nd percentile when it comes to Barrel% and in the 65th percentile in Hard Hit%.

We’ll see if this is just a one-day mental break for Hiura, similar to what Craig Counsell has done for Christian Yelich a couple times this year, or if this is more of a week-long shift as the team tries to field its best 9 every day in pursuit of a playoff spot.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Statcast