Yuni Betancourt: 2011 NLCS Closet Hero?


Everyone is writing re-caps of the game…that is played out.  If you are a Brewers fan and you do not know what happened yesterday, this is the best re-cap I read.  Kyle Lobner has a beat on all of the re-caps your brain can handle. 

Game 1 is always important.  It seizes momentum and confirms that your team will not be swept.  Not only did the Brewers win Game 1, but I think that they successfully struck some fear into the Cardinals pitching staff.  While Braun and Fielder are always scary, the Cards may have a new face to fear.

No matter who the Cardinals sent out to the mound yesterday, that guy was going to get hit on.  Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder each had a hand in the carnage, but Yuniesky Betancourt was the man who struck fear into RedBird pitchers.  I know that sounds crazy, but think about it like this:  Yuni Betancourt is the first player to hit for the collective cycle, during these playoffs.  Single, Double, Triple, and yesterday’s home-run.  With Yuni swinging a hot-bat, it gives opposing pitchers no relief.  Think back to August, when Betancourt and McGehee were on fire, the team was almost unbeatable right?

Many of you are aware that I live in Seattle Washington, if you didn’t… now you do.  My good friend Don, who is a Mariners super-fan, would always complain about Betancourt’s inconsistency.  The reason he was always so frustrated with this guy?  Sometimes Betancourt looked like the re-incarnation of Ted Williams, but other times he looked like a coat rack rigged with a mechanical swinging mechanism.  Part of why the Mariners traded him to Kansas City was because they wanted to see him hit on a more regular basis, but could never get it out of him.  These are the type of guys who can drive your team nuts.  Betancourt is absolutely that guy.

On July 8th of this year, Betancourt’s batting average was a horrible .237.  By August 11th it was up to .270 and he had knocked in 21 runs over that stretch of time.  So, in just over a month he increased his batting average by over 30 points and drove in a third of his total RBI production for the season.  Yuni B is the definition of streaky.  If he is getting hot right now, then the Cardinals could be in for some serious trouble.  Not only do you have to deal with Hart, Braun, Fielder, and Weeks, but you also have to worry about Betancourt keeping innings alive.

I know that many Brewers fans will have a hard time believing that Betancourt could be the NLCS MVP, so I decided to look at last years NLCS MVP, SF Giants Cody Ross, for comparison.  Mr. Ross held a batting average of .235 on April 24th of last year and on May 25th he was batting .308.  After that his average stayed right around the .260 mark for the remainder of the 2010 season.  In the NLCS last year, Ross hit 3 home-runs, had 5 RBI’s, 3 doubles, and had a .435 OBP.  No one…and I mean no one saw that coming from Ross.  His 2010 season ended with 14 home runs and 65 RBI’s  (Yuni’s 2011 numbers were 13 HR’s and 68 RBI’s).  Ross ended the post season with 5 home runs last year and was scorching hot from start to finish.  If you ask me, Yuni is damn near a carbon copy of Ross.  That spells trouble for teams not named the Brewers.

Disagree if you want, but after the public whooping that guy has taken from just about every Brewers site/publication/Twitter account, he is due some retribution.  It would serve us all right (myself included) for the abuse that guy has taken…especially from yours truly.  How weird would it sound if everytime we talked about winning the pennant, we had to talk about Betancourts monster series?  It may be coming true.  Tonight will tell the tale.

Marcum is on the hill, so it could get ugly.  Although, the last time he faced the Cards, he threw 7 innings without allowing an earned run.  Taking a 2-0 lead into Busch stadium sounds a lot sweeter than 1-1.  Enjoy Game 2 everyone.

Go Brewers!!!!