2020 has been a very unconventional year with twists and turns that seem to pop up at least once a day. That same idea could be said for the Milwaukee Brewers and former National League MVP, Christian Yelich.
Entering the Chicago White Sox series, Yelich had nothing going for him at the plate. He had a measly .037 batting average in 28 at-bats across his teams’ first six games. For more on his disastrous start, read my earlier piece. But fortunately for Yelich and his team, he’s starting to pick things up a bit.
This past week, Yelich played in three of the four Brewers-White Sox series games. He batted .333 in nine at-bats with four runs, a double, a home run, a run batted in, and six walks.
Thursday evening, he had his most impressive stretch of baseball this season. Yelich walked four times and hit an inside-the-park home run in all.
White Sox pitcher Gio Gonzalez was one strike away from avoiding any damage done by a struggling Yelich. Yelich popped up a 1-2 pitch to the deep left corner of the outfield. Eloy Jiménez chased it down but misread the ball. The ball eventually dropped in fair terrority with Jiménez needing to now dentangle himself from the netting and get the ball in. By that time, Yelich was within feet of home plate and tying the ball game as well.
Yelich’s inside-the-park home run sparked a four-run fifth inning. The Brewers went on to win the game, 8-3.
After the game, Yelich spoke to reporters about how great of a feeling it was to have a game like the one he just had. During a slump as rough as the one he was in, it begins to consume a player. It’s no longer just physical but also mental. Yelich told reporters he, “needed that one.”
He also did not shy away from recognizing how absurd it is to hit a home run in the fashion he hit one in.
“That was probably the luckiest home run in baseball history.”
Yelich went to plate six times in the 8-3 Brewers win and saw 30 pitches. Opposing pitchers have had their way with Yelich early on. His at-bats have been shorter as he’s not getting the bat on the ball and striking out sooner. The ability to work the count is key to increase his time on base through getting walked or spotting the perfect pitch to put in play.
But right now, if this past series was any indication of the future, he’s locked in. Brewers head back home to face their division rival Cincinnati Reds in a three-game series. Probable Reds starters for the series are Trevor Bauer, Anthony Desclafani, and Sonny Gray.
Lifetime against those pitchers, Yelich has a .440 batting average with three home runs and nine RBI in 25 at-bats. Maybe it is not time to panic just yet.
“It will be alright, eventually.”
Featured Photo: Nam H. Yuh – Associated Press