If Christian Yelich gets hot, this Brewer lineup will be scary
Over the weekend series against the Washington Nationals, Brewers fans finally caught a glimpse of the Christian Yelich we remember from the 2018 and 2019 seasons. After winning the MVP in 2018, and coming damn close in 2019, Yelich has cooled off considerably in the last two seasons. In his first two seasons in Milwaukee, Yelich put up mammoth numbers ; he hit a combined 80 homers to go with 207 RBI and a .327 batting average. He put the city of Milwaukee into a frenzy like no ballplayer since the days of Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. I mean, for two whole seasons, the dude could do no wrong. He ended the 2018 season scorching and picked up exactly where he left off in 2019, starting the season with four homers in four games. If not for a foot injury that sidelined him for the last month of 2019, there was a good chance he would have surpassed the 50 homer mark. Okay, you get it, Yelich played superhuman-like baseball for his first two seasons as a Brewer. If you’re reading this, you most likely remember that magical run he took us on.
However, in the past two seasons, Yelich has been almost equally as bad as he was good in 2018 and 2019. In the pandemic shortened 2020 season, he just never got going, hitting only 12 homeruns with 22 RBI. Most close to the game wrote it off as a weird year in a weird year in a weird season. Yelich would be okay. We thought. Unexpectedly though, we’ve seen more of the 2020 Yelich this season than the 2018-19 one. He’s had problems staying healthy, and has had trouble putting the ball in the air, which reflects his meager statistics. So far, he’s hit 8 homers, has 40 RBI, and a batting average below .250. Most expected Yelich’s 2020 season to be a fluke. Don’t believe what you see in a 60 game season, they said. Well, they were wrong. Until this weekend.
Over the weekend, Yelich finally showed flashes of the player we once knew. He went 5-10 over Friday and Saturday with two homers and 6 runs driven in. On Saturday, he capitalized on a big opportunity. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth, Yelich drove one into the Toyota Territory to make it a five run ballgame. For a second, it felt like we were back in the glory days. Packed house. Big moment. Yelich delivering in the clutch. It’s something we didn’t realize how much we missed. “It felt good to come through for once.”, Yelich said of his night. Click here to watch Yelich’s homer
Even without Yelich performing well this season, the Brewers have still been winning at a very steady pace. Entering play on Tuesday, the Brewers are 77-49 and 8.5 games in first place in the NL Central, on pace for 99 wins. They’ve been able to win without him, largely in part to their otherworldly starting rotation. But lately, the offense has piggybacked on top the pitching staff. The additions of Willy Adames, Eduardo Escobar, and Kolten Wong have worked wonders this season. After a quiet first couple of months, run production is at a season high from these Brewers. No better time than to get your former MVP going again.
If Yelich begins to play at a 2018 and 2019 clip, this lineup could be scary. We already know how lethal the starting rotation and bullpen is, but if the Brewers are able to combat a run producing lineup along with it, this team could be borderline unbeatable. Over the month of August, Milwaukee has begun to hit the ball more consistently, which has led to a 15-6 record. They have scored five runs or more 19 times over the course of the month, largely with Yelich unproductive. Now just imagine what things would look like with a red-hot Yelich. We’ve seen it before. In past years, Yelich has begun to heat up late in the season. In 2018 Yelich hit 25 homers in the second half of the season, which solidified his MVP season. He had a downright epic September that season, carrying the Brewers to a division title. We know Yelich can get hotter than just about any player in baseball, and right now would be a perfect time for that to happen.
With just about a month to go until the postseason, a push from Yelich could punch their ticket and propel them in and into October, similar to other years. If it all comes together for the Brewers, like it has been recently, they’re a team that nobody wants to run into come playoff time. The pitching is there. It has and will continue to win them ballgames. But if the offense will be able to be stable, this team will truly turn a corner. And there’s no better way to do it than with the Christian Yelich we all know and remember.