Jeremy Hellickson
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Jeremy Hellickson exits game with right hamstring injury

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Nationals right-hander Jeremy Hellickson made it through just four pitches during Sunday’s start against the Braves. He induced a groundout from Ender Inciarte for the first out of the inning, then saw Ozzie Albies reach safely after Mark Reynolds misplayed a throw to first. Hellickson scrambled to make the catch, but was soon seen grabbing at his hamstring and was checked by an athletic trainer and club manager Dave Martinez. He made a hasty exit from the field and appears to be down for the count with a hamstring injury, though the Nationals have yet to comment on the severity of the issue or announce a projected return date for their starter.

Hellickson, 31, has looked sharp so far this season with a 2.30 ERA, 1.3 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 across 43 innings. Assuming his injury is severe enough to warrant a trip to the disabled list, it’ll be his first time doing so since 2015, when he missed a little over three weeks with a left hamstring strain.

The righty’s abrupt departure created an unexpected opportunity for rookie starter (and no. 16 prospect) Jefry Rodriguez, who made his major league debut with two outs remaining in the first inning. Per Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports, the 24-year-old represents the 42nd player to appear for the club this season. Rodriguez induced a pop-up with his very first pitch, then watched Nick Markakis rope an RBI single into right field to put the Braves on the board. The Nats were quick to follow suit; by the third, they had regained the lead with a two-run shot from Trea Turner, his seventh blast of the year. They currently lead the Braves 2-1 in the fifth.

Watch: Christian Yelich continues to make a case for NL MVP repeat

Christian Yelich
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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.