After winning the MVP award in 2018 and coming close in 2019, Christian Yelich has cooled off considerably each of the last two seasons. Thankfully, over the weekend against the Washington Nationals he showed evidence of returning to his 2018 and 2019 season form. If he can return to form, the Brewers are borderline unbeatable.
In Yelich’s first two seasons as a Brewer, he put up mammoth numbers. This includes a stretch of four home runs in four games to begin the 2019 season. Between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, he hit a combined 80 homers to go along with 207 RBI while having a .327 batting average.
For those two seasons he could do no wrong and played superhero-like baseball. This put the city of Milwaukee into a frenzy like no ballplayer had since the days of Robin Yount and Paul Molitor.
Unfortunately, a fractured knee cap ended his 2019 season prematurely. Since the fractured knee cap, Yelich has been equally as bad as he was good in 2018 and 2019. In the pandemic shortened 2020 season he just never got the bat going. Reporters and experts around the game wrote it off as a weird year in a weird season.
Unexpectedly, we initially saw more of the bad Yelich to begin the 2021 season. He has had problems staying healthy and putting the ball in the air. This reflects his meager statistics of just 8 homers, 40 RBI, and a batting average below .250. Thankfully over the weekend we saw evidence that he was back.
Against the Nationals he showed flashes of the player we once knew. Between Friday and Saturday he went 5-10 with two homers and 6 RBI. On Saturday, he capitalized during big opportunity with the bases loaded. The play came in the bottom of the eighth when he hit a baseball into the Toyota Territory for a grand slam.
After the grand slam, it felt like we were back in the glory days of Yelich delivering in front of a packed house and during a clutch moment.
Despite Yelich not performing well this season, the Brewers have still been winning games. Entering play on Wednesday, the Brewers are 78-49. They hold an 9.5 game lead in the NL Central. They are on pace for a franchise record in wins.
Starting pitching has played a big factor in the teams success, but lately the offense has piggybacked on top the pitching staff. The additions of Willy Adames, Eduardo Escobar, and Kolten Wong have also worked wonders this season. Run production is at a season high for the Brewers and a red hot Yelich will only help matters.
If Yelich begins to play like his 2018 and 2019 self, this lineup could be scary. We already know how lethal the starting rotation and bullpen is, but if the Brewers are able to produce runs consistently this team could be borderline unbeatable. 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.