Christian Yelich hasn’t yet had the same build-up this season that made him such a long threat in 2018 and 19, but he marked the Brewers’ offensive explosion en route to a 10-4 win over the Rockies Saturday.
Yelich stepped up late in the eighth to face Colorado reliever Ben Bowden. Luis Urías had just hit a two-run single to make it a three-runner game, prompting Rockies manager Bud Black to bring in left-handed pitcher Bowden to take on left-handed hitter Yelich.
As Yelich waited to the side as Bowden warmed up, he could feel the intensity of the crowd.
“It was really loud this round, and even during that pitch change you could feel the atmosphere, just everyone was in it,” Yelich said. “It’s an amazing feeling, and it definitely affects the game. It has a result on the game. The fans are loud, the crowd is in it. I think we as a team feed off of it, and generally good things start to happen. ”
When Bowden was ready to throw his first pitch, Yelich entered the box. On the first pitch he saw in the game between lefties and lefties, Yelich pushed the ball towards center-right field, clearing the wall and leading in two to make it a 9-4 game.
And that atmosphere he felt before his fight? The roar of the crowd nearly blew up the roof of American Family Field.
“The energy, the passion is great for us,” said Avisaíl García, whose solo shot in the seventh inning tied the score at 4. “We’re playing at home right now and it’s huge. It gives us more energy, more focus. I think when you have fans in the stands they give you a lot. I’m happy for it. ”
Before Yelich’s explosion, Daniel Robertson started the bottom of the eighth with a walk, Manny Piña was hit with a pitch in the next home appearance and Jace Peterson hit a single from the pitcher. This loaded the groundwork with no one for Omar Narváez, who battled Rockies reliever Carlos Estévez and managed a deep center ball to lead into the fiery race with a sacrifice fly.
Two more would score on Urias ‘single in the middle, while Willy Adames’ RBI double made it a 10-4 game, but it was Yelich’s home run that provided the highlight of the eighth inning.
Yelich had just four home runs in 135 batting in the year leading up to Saturday, which may still be a startling statistic given he spent several seasons among the National League’s top hitters. But while the power hasn’t existed this year, it still does things to help.
He did the most walks (35) in the team. His 29 points are four behind García for most points over the Brewers, and his base percentage of .407 would be among the Majors’ best scores if he qualified.
Even on Saturday alone, he was 1 for 4 before the home run and almost smoked a home run late in the third that died a few feet in front of the wall in the center.
“The idea that Christian has to hit home runs every time at bat is wrong,” manager Craig Counsell said. “This is not how it works. He had a shot to hit, he did something good with it, had a hit earlier in the game. Christian is doing a good job. He’s helping us win, he’s having a good offensive season. I know his standards are very high and all of our standards for him are very high, but [he] continues to have good drummers.
While the Homer doesn’t confirm that Yelich’s power is back, it was a good reminder of what he can do in baseball at his best.