Everyone figured that Bob Brenly was on his way back to Arizona after his exit from the Cubs booth was confirmed Wednesday. The Diamondbacks made it official today, naming him their TV color guy, and announced a surprise choice as the new play-by-play man: ESPN’s Steve Berthiaume.
The move keeps Brenly in the booth with a number friendly play-by-play guy. Berthiaume has an active presence on twitter and shows a fondness for advanced stats. He seems like a great choice for Arizona, and the new booth figures to be a nice upgrade over the Daron Sutton-Mark Grace pairing that disintegrated in 2012.
As for Len Kasper’s new partner in Chicago, that’s still up in the air. Kerry Wood told CSNChicago’s David Kaplan that he has no interest in the job. Kaplan mentions Todd Hollandsworth, Rick Sutcliffe, Steve Lyons, Eric Karros and Dan Plesac as some possibilities to join WGN. He also brings up Doug Glanville, who would be a terrific choice, in my opinion. Grace doesn’t appear to be a candidate.
Tied at a league-leading 10 home runs apiece with Cody Bellinger and Khris Davis, it wasn’t long before Brewers slugger Christian Yelich set himself apart from the competition yet again. During the bottom of the first inning on Friday, the 2018 NL MVP singled out the first pitch he saw from the Dodgers’ Ross Stripling — an 86.5-m.p.h. slider just wide of the strike zone — and returned it to the second deck seats in right field for his 11th home run of 2019.
While Bellinger and Davis will undoubtedly continue to make it difficult for Yelich to claim sole honors at the top of the leaderboard, the 27-year-old outfielder has had a banner year so far. Through the first three weeks of the season, he’s batting a strong .354/.447/.823 with 15 extra-base hits, 29 RBI, and three stolen bases across 94 plate appearances. The 29 RBI (27 entering Friday’s game) he collected between March and April eclipsed Prince Fielder’s previous franchise record of 26 RBI — and there’s no telling how much higher that total will rise by the end of the month, too.
Even with the benefit of Yelich’s immense talents, however, the Brewers are just clinging to a first-place tie with the Pirates atop the NL Central. They dropped their last two games to the Cardinals and Dodgers, respectively, and will need to overturn the remainder of their series against LA to build up their division lead again. They’re currently tied 2-2 with the Dodgers in the seventh.