Similar to the situation involving Lebron James on what seemed like every single Cleveland Cavaliers team, the Milwaukee Brewers have become a bit of a one-dimensional squad riding on the back of a superstar, expecting that player to carry the entire franchise to paydirt. While Christian Yelich has proven that it is quite a possibility that he can shoulder the entire load for a team, he has been given way too much of a load to deal with, which is exactly what has dealt the Brewers a difficult hand to begin the 2019 MLB season.
Combining the fact that they have played more games than a good portion of the league already, having played the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals enough times to almost fill up an entire year and dealt with inconsistencies at first base and in their starting rotation, and the Brewers were forced to, yet again, look to Yelich to keep this team above water.
In his own right, Yelich more than held his weight in gold, smashing 14 home runs before the 1st of May, tying Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols, and just having been tied by Cody Bellinger this year as well. If his injury would not have flared up when it did, or if Bellinger had not brought one back from over the wall in one of their early season tilts at Miller Park, Yelich would have eclipsed that mark and set a new record for the MLB.
It is quite obvious that Christian Yelich is an everyday player who should only get a day off if he asks for one or if he has been laboring a bit or undergoing a slump, all things that Yeli has not asked for or experienced yet in this young season. However, when pulling up after running to second in a game late last week, he was diagnosed with back issues, taking him out of regular play but thankfully avoiding the Injured List.
For a team that is so dependent on one player to lead a team, the Brewers can not afford to have Yelich miss an extended period of time. Having players like Jesus Aguilar and Eric Thames finally break out of their slumps to bring some offense to the table is exactly what the doctor ordered early on in the year, and with offseason addition Yasmani Grandal on a solid streak at the plate, along with incumbent second baseman Mike Moustakas hitting the cover off the ball, and this team does have some pieces that are standing out and standing up for this team when they need it the most.
Manager Craig Counsell knows how to manage his guys, and his focus should be more on the development of their pitching staff rather than knowing who he can throw out there for eight of the nine players on the diamond. While injuries may have thrown a bit of a plug into any long-term plan he wanted to roll with when players got hot, he has been playing the right cards most of the time to get the most out of his players while on this long stretch of playing tough opponents.
While the team currently sits at 16 wins against 14 losses on the year, they have played two more games than their closest National League Central divisional rival, so they have a few more breaks to look forward to for the rest of the year being ahead of their competition in games played.
If Christian Yelich is able to rest up and come back on a tear, or even just playing solidly like we all know he can, then this team will be fine yet again. However, to make sure this is avoided, they need to make sure other players on the team, like veterans Lorenzo Cain, Ryan Braun, Aguilar, Grandal and Moustakas, just to name a few, are able to solidify the lineup and ensure that any period of time that Yelich is out for, that they do not have to play catch up once he returns.