Christian Yelich was back, and then he was gone again. The Brewers have been waiting for Yelich to figure things out at the plate this season and just when the they thought he did, he’s gone cold.
Yelich’s batting average dipped to .226 on August 11th, his lowest mark since the beginning of the season. Then, he went on a tear the rest of August, going 26 for 74, with a .351 average and .917 OPS. That stretch included an eight game hitting streak followed by an 11 game streak that went into September.
That brought his batting average back up to .257 on the season.
He continued the hot hitting through the first part of September, hitting a solid .260 on September 11th.
For that one month stretch, from August 11th-September 11th, Yelich hit .330 with an .843 OPS.
From September 12th onward, he’s been ice cold again. After an 0-3 day on Thursday, Yelich is 3-for his last-37. That’s an .081 average in that time.
Just as Christian Yelich seemed to have things figured out, he’s been in another slump at the plate for the Brewers.
Yelich said he was feeling good at the plate again, and he looked good at the plate again. All of a sudden, he looks lost once more. What happened?
While Yelich may be the only one who truly knows what happened, it’s clear the results have been drastically different.
He’s now pounding the ball into the ground with even more regularity than before. He’s at a 67.3% ground ball rate for the month of September, far and away a career high. In August, he was hitting the ball on the ground at just a 47% clip.
In watching his at-bats lately, it’s clear Yelich is attempting to pull most outside pitches, thus rolling over on the ball and grounding out to second. When he does try to take those outside pitches the opposite way, he gets the ball in the air a little and with some authority.
Also, continuing what has been a trend this year for Yelich, he’s been very passive at the plate. He’s watching first pitch strikes, in spots that are in his usual wheelhouse, and then swings at pitches out of the zone as he falls behind in counts. When Yelich was at his best, he was aggressive early in counts, swinging at the first strikes he saw, and crushing them.
The Brewers need Yelich to, at the very least, get back to what he was doing from August 11th to September 11th. They don’t even need his MVP form right now, but they need something.
Yelich found a groove at the plate, but he lost it again, and he needs to find it again soon.