- CLUTCH Summary: Even with Christian Yelich being out for a week of games, the Milwaukee Brewers showed they came to play.
- The National League Central is pretty stacked, and it is going to be a dog fight until the end of September to settle the divisional winner.
- Rookie Trent Grisham has opened a lot of eyes so far in his limited time, and he looks to be a real contributor for this team down the stretch.
As Christian Yelich has made setting the league on fire a regular thing ever since he put on a Milwaukee Brewers uniform, having to deal with a back injury has also flared up at a concerning rate. Missing time both in 2018 and 2019, the 2018 National League MVP has been out the past week roughly nursing that same ailment.
Even with Yelich riding the pine, the Brewers have made their presence known in the race for the NL Central divisional crown, winning five of their last six games, sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park and taking two of three at home against the Texas Rangers in an interleague battle.
With rumored reports of Yelich making his next starting appearance on Tuesday at home as the Brewers open up a brief series with the Minnesota Twins, his addition back to the starting lineup cannot come at a better time. Having pinch-hit on Sunday in a 1-0 loss to the Mike Minor-led Rangers, Yelich seems to be back on pace for getting regular action in the field.
Rookie Trent Grisham was called up a bit before Yelich lost playing time to deal with his back injury, and the rookie outfielder has played admirably in his short stint at the big-league level. Playing the role of leadoff on multiple occasions, Grisham has nine hits in 30 plate appearances, racking up three of those in the Crew’s win over the Rangers on Saturday.
Playing left field and right field, Trent Grisham has become a valuable option off the bench for manager Craig Counsell, and the batting glove-less rookie has been a solid addition as a left-handed hitter at the plate too.
Across 106 games and 102 starts, Trent Grisham, Brewers, Christian Yelich has been hot on the re-election trail for the MVP award, hitting a blistering .335 at the plate, blasting a league-leading 39 home runs and driving in 84. He also leads the NL in steals with 23, which is already more than his total last year, and has an amazing 1.130 OPS and a 6.50 WAR.
His 39 home runs are three more than his MVP season last year, and he is well on his way to be a serious threat at becoming the most recent Triple Crown winner on an NL team, something that has not happened since 1937, when Joe Medwick of the St. Louis Cardinals hit 31 dingers, drove in 154 runs while sporting a .374 average.
On pace to hit over 50 home runs and drive in well over 100 runs, Yelich’s reign as the best positional player in the NL is being threatened a bit by Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who has put up a solid season yet again. 38 dingers, 89 runs driven in, a .317 average but only nine steals mostly all adds up in a comparable fashion to Yelich’s numbers but is not close enough to make this race a dead heat.
As the season progresses and the race for the NL Central crown tightens up, the three front runners, the Chicago Cubs, Brewers and Cardinals, all have keys to their campaign to win the division. Whoever does not end up winning the division should rank highly in the Wild Card race, and we could see three teams from one division earn postseason berths in 2019.