Monday, June 17, 2024

Ahead by a Central-ry


There are a few deep moats between division leaders and the competition right now. Both the Mariners and Dodgers are ahead of their competition, and the Phillies famously have a lot on Atlanta. But the most crucial lead is the one the Brewers have in the NL Central. Because literally every team in this division is somewhat competitive right now, and the Brewers are the only ones over .500. 

Everybody else is just in a line, a couple games apart from each other, struggling to stay in it. The Cubs have dropped to the bottom and are trying desperately to get back up. The Pirates and Reds are juggling 3rd and 4th. And the Cardinals, simply because the competition is 'who can be the most mediocre?', are ahead. And yet, despite being wrung out by the Phils a few weeks ago, the Brewers are comfortably ahead and looking very good.

A lot of that is because, after a few slumpy years, Christian Yelich is back to being the central figure of this team. He's probably not gonna perform at the heights of his 2017-2019 run again, but he's still a great hitter with slightly less outfield perks. So far Yelich is hitting .333 with 31 RBIs and 14 steals. It is a season that's already gotten him All Star Game votes, and it's a season that's ensuring his hero status among Brewers fans. Because I think there was some worry that he'd be done being relevant after tanking in 2021. The last two seasons have been a lot better for Yelich, and he's still just as crucial to this team. It's also a lot better than the brunt of the work isn't solely on him, as William Contreras and Brice Turang are also having exceptional seasons and lifting this team further.

You're also seeing Blake Perkins and Joey Ortiz come into their own as solid role players. I think there's still too many replacement level guys in major positions [Jake Bauers, Gary Sanchez], but this lineup is still pretty versatile, and there's enough guys who can show up and deliver when you need. Rhys Hoskins...I mean, he's doing kinda what he did in Philly, one-dimensional power, but you live for the moments where he's on. I'm also thrilled that, after Devin Williams and Abner Uribe went down, Trevor Megill of all people became a solid enough ninth inning option, and already has 12 saves. 

The Brewers, as they are always, are the kind of good team that goes under the radar and you may not think about often, but is still capable of big things. Unfortunately, this hasn't resulted in especially great playoff luck for the Brewers. And the rotation is holding me back from thinking that'll change this year. Breaking up the big three, and putting the emphasis on people like Colin Rea, Bryse Wilson and Tobias Myers certainly is a choice, and it'll be interesting to see if this pays off. But for now, if Yelich, Contreras and Turang are gonna be this good, then who knows?

Coming Tomorrow- It's a decent idea for him to start showing up a bit more, y'know, to help the pitching and all. 

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