Christian Yelich didn’t waste any time putting the Brewers on the board as the team kicked off Game 7 of the NLCS on Saturday. After going homer-less since Game 1 of the NLDS, Yelich pounced on a 98.4-MPH fastball from the Dodgers’ Walker Buehler and plunked it over the center field fence for a 1-0 lead in the first inning:
While Yelich put up monster numbers during the regular season, including a .326/.402/.598 batting line, 36 home runs, and a 1.000 OPS, his power all but evaporated during the Brewers’ postseason run. Entering Saturday’s game, he’s collected just two extra bases — a two-run homer in Game 1 of the NLDS and a double in Game 6 of the NLCS — and maintained a sluggish .188 average over nine games so far.
Rookie Buehler has been a relatively easy target for batters in the playoffs after allowing a cumulative nine runs and two homers over his last two appearances. Things might get a little more tricky for the Brewers should Clayton Kershaw take the mound tonight; as Dodgers’ skipper Dave Roberts told reporters earlier today, Kershaw will be ready to step out of the bullpen at the first sign of trouble. For what it’s worth, however, playoff teams that score first have gone 21-6 this fall (h/t MLB Stat of the Day).
The Brewers currently trail 2-1 in the second following Cody Bellinger‘s two-RBI blast off of Jhoulys Chacín in the top of the inning.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.