The Rockies are getting Nolan Arenado back from the DL for tonight’s game against the Dodgers and if all goes according to plan for Carlos Gonzalez, he might not be too far behind him.
Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post brings word this evening Gonzalez hopes to rejoin the Rockies prior to the All-Star break. It’s worth noting that he was just cleared for live batting practice yesterday as he makes his way back from surgery to remove a tumor from his left index finger, so his timetable might be a tad on the optimistic side given that the Rockies finish the first half on July 13. At the very least, it sounds like he has a good chance to be ready when the second half begins on July 18.
Gonzalez wasn’t his usual self prior to surgery last month, batting just .255/.307/.449 with eight home runs and 31 RBI over 52 games. As the injuries have piled up for the Rockies, they have predictably faded in a big way. They are 8-22 since the start of June and currently find themselves at 36-49 on the year, 11 games back in the NL West and just 1.5 games ahead of the Diamondbacks for last place.
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.