After hitting just .204 in 34 games for the Brewers’ Triple-A team this season former big leaguer Jay Gibbons has announced his retirement at age 35.
Gibbons was a fixture in the middle of Baltimore’s lineup from 2001-2007, but the Orioles released him with more than $10 million remaining on his contract when he was named in the “Mitchell Report” and suspended for the beginning of 2008. Gibbons resurfaced with the Dodgers in 2010 and 2011, but saw limited action as a role player.
Gibbons had 25-homer power, but it came along with low batting averages and poor plate discipline. Overall he hit .260 with a .315 on-base percentage and .453 slugging percentage in 840 games, homering 127 times.
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.