Brad Lidge said in a video interview with MLB.com that the Nationals are “probably the most talented team I’ve ever been on and I’ve been on some great teams.”
Including, of course, the 2008 Phillies that won the World Series thanks in large part to Lidge’s dominance in the ninth inning.
And also the 2009 Phillies that won the NL pennant. Or the 2010 Phillies that won 97 games. Or the 2011 Phillies that won 102 games.
Going back further, he was on the 2005 Astros that won the NL pennant and … well, you get the idea.
Obviously the Nationals have improved a ton and look, on paper at least, like very legitimate contenders this season. But c’mon. Washington went 80-81 last season, so they’d need to improve by a dozen games just to match the record of the worst team Lidge has been on during the previous four years (and that team won the World Series).
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.