This Guy is Unbelievable
How about the start to the 2019 season that Christian Yelich is having. Wow.
Yelich had a second half for the ages in 2018 -- slashing .367/.449/.770 with 25 homers, 67 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 65 games -- en route to capturing his first National League MVP award.
While’s is crazy to think that those monster numbers could be anything other than a player’s peak, could the 27-year-old superstar be even better in 2019? If the first 22 games of the season are any indication, the answer could be a resounding yes.
Yelich clubbed a solo homer off of Dodgers’ left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu in the third inning on Saturday, marking the third consecutive game that he has left the yard, and the seventh home run in his last six games.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, that home run set a Brewers’ franchise record for most home runs before the end of April -- besting the ridiculous start that Eric Thames had to the 2017 season.
He wasn’t finished though. In the sixth inning, Yelich victimized Ryu again. Another solo shot, increasing the Brewers’ lead to 2-0 in the ballgame. His 13th home run of the season, and eighth in his last six games. That home run tied a Brewers’ franchise record for most home runs in any month ever -- matching the 13 homers that Prince Fielder slugged in May of 2007 in a season in which he hit 50 home runs. With nine games left on the Brewers’ schedule before the end of the month, it’s safe to say that Yelich will soon have that record all to himself.
The all-time record for homers before the month of May is 14 -- accomplished by Albert Pujols in 2006 and Alex Rodriguez in 2007. With the way that Yelich is swinging the bat right now, you’d have to believe he’ll soon put his name on that record as well.
What’s astonishing about this run though, is that he’s doing all of his damage at Miller Park. All 13 of Yelich’s home runs this season have come in 13 games at home. On the road, he’s slashing a pedestrian .270/.325/.324 with no homers and two RBI in nine games, while he has slugged 13 long balls and driven in 29 runs at home.
At some point, you’d think that teams would give him the Barry Bonds treatment and just stop pitching to him. The problem with that, is the strong surrounding cast in Milwaukee. After his two home runs on Saturday, the Brewers did exactly that -- walking Yelich intentionally in the seventh inning to pitch to Ryan Braun with two men on and two outs. Braun responded by crushing a three-run homer that essentially put the game out of reach.
If he’s going to continue making history on Sunday, he’ll have to do so against Dodgers’ star southpaw Clayton Kershaw. While that seems like a daunting matchup for most hitters, Yelich has had an unbelievable amount of success in his career against Kershaw, hitting .529 (9-for-17) with a pair of homers and a double.
He’ll enter play on Sunday hitting .361/.455/.880 with 13 homers and 31 RBI, well on his way to defending his MVP award from a season ago.
The absolute last thing that the Yankees needed to deal with on Saturday was another injury to a key cog in the offense. They’re already incredibly short-handed, with Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar, Troy Tulowitzki, Aaron Hicks, Greg Bird, Giancarlo Stanton and Didi Gregorius all sitting on the injured list. Now, it looks like their offensive superstar will be joining them.
Aaron Judge was lifted from Saturday’s game against the Royals in the bottom of the sixth inning after suffering a left oblique injury. Shortly after he was sent for an MRI to determine the severity of the strain.
Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone admitted after the game that he expected Judge to land on the injured list and to miss at least a couple of weeks.
The 26-year-old is off to another nice start offensively, slashing .288/.404/.521 with five homers, 11 RBI and a pair of stolen bases. While the Yankees have already been rolling with a “next man up” mentality, at some point there just aren’t enough quality replacements to fill all of the vacant spots in the Bombers’ lineup.
The Yankees now sit at 10-10 on the season after Saturday’s victory over the Royals. Just how far they ultimately go this season may very well depend on how well they weather the storm over the next few weeks with another of their key offensive cogs on the sidelines.
Have a Day Eddie
If you haven’t been paying much attention to the Twins over the past few weeks, you may have missed the fact that Eddie Rosario has been one of the hottest hitters in all of baseball. Entering play on Saturday, Rosario had been slashing .333/.368/.889 with six homers and 14 RBI over his last 10 games. He added to those gaudy totals on Saturday.
In the first game of Saturday’s twinbill against the Orioles, Rosario belted two of his team’s three total home runs. He crushed a solo shot off of Dan Straily in the first inning, then repeated the feat in the fifth inning to tie the game at 3-3. He also doubled in the contest, finishing the game 3-for-5.
While those numbers represent a wonderful day on their own, Rosario went right back to work in the second game of the doubleheader. There, he belted a two-run homer off of Alex Cobb in the third inning that increased the Twins’ lead to 6-0. He went 2-for-4 in that one as well, raising his season slash to .300/.347/.743. He now has nine homers and 20 RBI on the season -- with all nine long balls coming in his last 12 games.
He wasn’t the only player on the Twins that socked a few dingers on Saturday though. Willians Astudillo also left the yard for the Twins in the first game of the doubleheader. Then in the nightcap, Mitch Garver slugged a pair of home runs. Nelson Cruz left the yard twice. Jonathan Schoop clubbed two long balls as well. Oh and C.J. Cron hit one out of the yard as well. All told, the Twins slugged 11 total home runs on the day, including eight in the nightcap which matched a franchise record.
American League Quick Hits: Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports that the highly- anticipated MLB debut of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could come on April 26 against the Athletics. … Matt Shoemaker was removed from Saturday’s start after injuring his left knee in a rundown. He was sent for an MRI to determine the severity of the sprain. … Gary Sanchez (calf) will play in a rehab game on Monday and could be activated from the injured list as soon as Wednesday. … Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi landed on the 10-day injured list due to a loose body in his right elbow. There’s no definitive word yet on how long he’ll be sidelined. … The Indians designated Hanley Ramirez for assignment. … Blake Snell (toe) threw 20 pitches in a successful bullpen session on Saturday and could rejoin the Rays rotation as soon as he’s eligible on April 24. … Brock Holt (eye) will be pulled back from his minor league rehab assignment after suffering a setback. … Mitch Moreland was lifted from Saturday’s game due to back spasms, though he claims he’s fine and will return to the lineup on Sunday. … Gio Gonzalez requested to opt out of his contract with the Yankees on Saturday. The team now has 48 hours to add him to the big-league roster or grant his release. … Ji Man Choi was removed from Saturday’s game with left calf tightness. He’s considered day-to-day. … Masahiro Tanaka struck out seven over seven innings of one-run baseball in a victory over the Royals. … Clint Frazier went 3-for-5 and swatted his fifth home run in that victory. … Rowdy Tellez homered and plated three runs as the Jays crushed the Athletics. … Andrew Benintendi blasted his first career grand slam on Saturday, powering the Red Sox past the Rays. … Joey Gallo slugged his eighth home run as the Rangers obliterated Gerrit Cole and the Astros. … Gerrit Cole allowed a career-high nine runs (eight earned) over 4 ⅓ frames in that loss to the Rangers… Renato Nunez homered in the first game then belted a pair of home runs in the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Twins… Trevor Bauer struck out 10 in a no-decision against the Braves. … Francisco Lindor (calf) went 1-for-5 with a run scored in his return to the Indians’ lineup. … Daniel Vogelbach clobbered his eighth home run as the Mariners edged out the Angels… Albert Pujols belted a solo home run in the ninth inning on Saturday, passing Babe Ruth on the all-time RBI list with 1,993.
National League Quick Hits: Jon Lester (hamstring) threw a simulated game to live hitters on Saturday and could be cleared to rejoin the Cubs’ rotation this week. … Jacob deGrom (elbow) was seen playing catch on the field Saturday morning in St. Louis as he waits for his MRI appointment on Monday. … Brandon Morrow (elbow) suffered a setback and will be shut down until further notice. … The Pirates placed Starling Marte on the 10-day injured list with an abdominal wall contusion that he suffered during Friday’s collision with teammate Erik Gonzalez. Gonzalez landed on the 60-day injured list with a fractured clavicle. … Matt Carpenter was forced to leave Saturday’s game after fouling a ball off of his knee. He’s considered day-to-day. … The Phillies placed Jean Segura and Scott Kingery on the 10-day injured list with hamstring injuries. … Pete Alonso underwent precautionary X-rays after getting hit in the hand on Saturday, but there was no structural damage. … Anthony Rendon was removed from Saturday’s game after being hit in the left elbow by a pitch. Precautionary X-rays came back negative here as well and Rendon is considered day-to-day. ... Mike Moustakas was pulled from Saturday’s game and sent for X-rays on his hand as well, which also came back negative. Like the rest of us, he’s considered day-to-day. … Paul Goldschmidt slugged his eighth home run as the Cardinals routed the Mets… Zack Greinke hurled six shutout innings in a victory over the Cubs. … Jameson Taillon allowed just one run over five innings in a rain-shortened victory over the Giants. … Cole Tucker swatted a go-ahead two-run homer in his MLB debut on Saturday, powering the Pirates to victory over the Giants. … Max Scherzer was knocked around for seven runs (six earned) over 5 ⅓ innings in a loss to the Marlins. … Charlie Blackmon went 4-for-5 with a homer and a triple in a losing effort against the Phillies. … Touki Toussaint was crushed for seven runs in just 1 ⅓ innings in a no-decision against the Indians. … Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a go-ahead two-run double during a five-run uprising in the ninth inning as the Braves salvaged the second game of their doubleheader against the Indians… Aaron Nola struck out nine in a victory over the Rockies at Coors Field. … Luis Castillo piled up nine strikeouts over six innings of one-run ball in a victory over the Padres.