Yeah we have even more Phillies-related posts today than usual. But if Rany Jazayerli is correct in the column he just wrote for Grantland, it will all even out very soon when the Phillies suck and no one cares about them.
The problems: An aging roster which is getting more expensive as it declines, a relatively fallow farm system and a division in which the competition is younger and on the rise. Money quote: “But the Phillies’ biggest concern in the near term is, as always, the Atlanta Braves …” Ahhhh.
All of which leads to this payoff:
“… for a team on the verge of its greatest season ever, the future is murky at best. The Phillies have climbed to the top of the mountain. There might be a cliff up ahead.”
We’ll accept “he’s just a hater!” responses for the first few minutes after this post goes live because I know you guys can’t help yourselves when it comes to mistaking criticism for bias. But then you all are going to actually have to read the article and explain how, exactly, Rany is wrong.
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.