Christian Yelich, the 2018 NL MVP, becomes the sixth player in history to homer in the first four games to begin the season.
If reigning National League MVP Christian Yelich is going to see his numbers fall off from last season, he’s certainly not showing any sign of it.
Yelich sent a 1-0 fastball from St. Louis Cardinals’ starter Michael Wacha 408 feet into the second deck of right field in the first inning at Miller Park on Sunday, becoming the sixth player in Major League history to hit a home run in four straight games to begin a season. He joins Willie Mays, Mark McGwire, Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis and Trevor Story in this exclusive club.
The 27-year-old right fielder is now hitting .455 with six RBI and a 2.117 OPS in 10 at-bats in 2019. In 69 games since the All-Star break last season, he’s hitting .368 with 29 home runs. Yelich led the National League in batting average, slugging percentage and OPS in 2018, garnering 29 of 30 first-place votes on his way to his first career MVP award.
The Brewers left-handed hitters are trying to adopt a new approach of going to the opposite field this season, and Yelich has fully bought into this philosophy. Two of his four home runs so far this year have been to left field. When he homered to left off Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson on Saturday, he became the first reigning MVP and the first player in Brewers history to begin the season with home runs in three straight games.
“He’s swinging it really good,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said after Saturday’s 4-2 win. “[Hudson] is good at putting that sinking fastball on the outside corner and [we had to] not try to pull it. Our lefties did a really nice job of that. Yelich started it out.”
“It’s one thing to say it, but Yelly has got two opposite-field homers in the last two days. He’s swinging the bat really, really good.”
Travis Shaw and Mike Moustakas, two other Brewers’ left-handers, also homered to left-center against the Cardinals yesterday.
Yelich’s solo homer on Sunday gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead against the Cardinals as they try to win three of four off their NL Central-rivals to begin the season. Last season the Brewers won the division with 96 wins before losing in Game 7 of the NLCS to the Los Angeles Dodgers.