2020 was…well…2020 sucked. 100 years since the original, our version of the “Roaring 20’s” may be upon us as it appears we are inching closer to normalcy. Here are 3 memories Brewers fans would be happy to leave in 2020.
There were a few good things but overall there wasn’t much that went to plan for the Brewers in 2020, and there’s a lot of things that we’d like to see stay back in 2020 and not show up in 2021.
A Christian Yelich Slump
Brewer fans finally came to the realization that Christian Yelich is human in 2020. He not only struggled to replicate his power numbers from years before but he also had the lowest batting average of his career by about .080 points.
It’s a well known fact that Yelich is the one that makes it all go for the Milwaukee bats. It’s hard to put a finger on a specific reason for the struggles from the former MVP. Yelich may’ve been feeling the effects of his kneecap injury or perhaps the delay that the pandemic caused may have thrown him off.
Regardless, he’s not the type of person to make excuses and I expect him to come back stronger than ever in 2021.
Let’s dive into some splits for Yelich in 2020 and try to pinpoint where he struggled. First off, Yelich hit .169 against right-handed pitchers. For reference, in 2019, he hit a scorching .358 against righties. You would be hard pressed to find someone that follows baseball closely that believes he will hit sub .200 in the batting average category come 2021.
Next, Yelich has a flare for the dramatic and loves to deliver in front of fans. In 2019, he hit .347 and had an OPS of 1.201 in front of the Milwaukee faithful. Come 2020, there were regulations that restricted fans from being present and Yelich missed those familiar faces more than most. At home he posted an average of .247 and drove in only nine runs in 113 plate appearances.
Some other things to take note of are his struggles at second in the batting order in 2020 with an average of .190 when he hit .330 and really flourished in the two hole the year before.
The last element that I’d like to highlight was his direct influence on wins and losses for the Brewers. In wins, Yelich showed plenty of shades of his old self, hitting nine home runs and posting an OPS of 1.052. But in the games that Milwaukee took a loss in, he had an average just a touch above .150 and had a slugging percentage of only .250.
Now I’m not suggesting at all that the losses come at the hands of Christian Yelich at all, but I would say that he has the hypothetical keys to the car for the foreseeable future. A bounce back year for him would put the Brewers in good position in the NL Central.
Empty Baseball Stadiums
Here’s something baseball fans across the country can agree on. WE NEED FANS BACK IN THE SEATS. While it was nice that we could get some semblance of a season, America’s Pastime just didn’t feel the same in 2020.
Tailgating with friends and family. The crack of the bat during batting practice. The smell of the popcorn. The boisterous “Get your ice cold beer here” shouts. The game-long friendships created with nearby fans during a home run. The fight for foul balls coming your way during the bottom of the 7th inning. It’s all taken for granted, but when it’s taken away, you really miss it.
There really was no decision to be made in terms of fans being in attendance in 2020. People’s lives are more important than these things mentioned above among others, but if we can safely get back to creating more memories with those special to us in 2021, it would seem all is well in the world. Your worries seem to vanish during those three hours as you can fully appreciate the intricacies of such a simple game.
In 2021, most of all, I wish you good health and I so greatly hope we can safely get back to root, root, rooting for the home team, exchanging high fives during a Christian Yelich home run trot, applauding Josh Hader during the bottom of the ninth with two outs, and driving home with a smile on our face after a Brewers victory.
All Those Brewers Strikeouts
It was a frustrating offense to watch during 2020 as a Brewers fan. While the Chinese New Year calendar said that it was the year of the rat, in Milwaukee it was the year of the strikeout.
As an offense, they struck out the second most in all of the MLB at 582 times (TB had 608). And unfortunately enough for the Crew, two of their best hitters (Yelich and Keston Hiura) struck out the most for their team. Hirua had the second most strikeouts in all of the MLB at 85 punchouts and Yelich wasn’t too far behind at sixth most strikeouts at 76.
Luckily for the Brewers, the season was shortened or else they might have been on the wrong side of history had that pace continued. As mentioned above, in 60 games, they struck out 582 times. At that rate, had they played the full 162 game season, they would’ve been sat down 1,571 times, good enough for tied for the sixth most strikeouts by a team in MLB history with…the 2017 Milwaukee Brewers. That’s a lot of K’s in the scorebook.
Strikeouts must’ve been in the air in Milwaukee as the Brewer pitching staff had the third most strikeouts in all of the MLB, but the hitters need to find a way to put the bat on the ball in 2021 if they want to take some pressure off of that stellar pitching staff. The 2021 Brewers New Year’s Resolution should be more contact, which will more than likely lead to more victories and more fun in general for the batters and the fans watching.
One of the most trying and difficult years of our lives has come to a conclusion. Let’s all knock this year out of the park and hopefully, we’re back in the stands soon! From all of us here at Reviewing the Brew, we wish you a happy and healthy New Year.