Len Kasper will be the Cubs’ television play-by-play announcer through at least 2016 after signing a five-year contract extension, according to Barry Rozner of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Kasper has been paired with Bob Brenly on Cubs games since 2005 and they’re among my favorite duos. They have a very friendly, natural on-air rapport that suggests they might actually like each other away from the microphones, and in addition to being a good play-by-play guy Kasper is also one of the few announcers who successfully incorporates some sabermetric insights into the broadcast.
Brenly’s deal is up after the 2012 season and Rozner speculates that the Cubs will try to sign him long term next.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.