Boston – Three games don’t make a trend.
But an immediate return to a minor turn at the plate by Christian Yelich earlier this week was viewed positively by the Milwaukee Brewers left fielder.
Taping a new toe, Yelich doubled down on Tuesday in a win over the Minnesota Twins — their first game with multiple extra-base hits since cycling to Cincinnati on May 11 — and sang the following afternoon.
Then in the team’s return to Fenway Park on Friday night, Yelich collected two more hits, including a double and then a go-forward single with two outs in the seventh, leading to a 4–1 win over the Boston Red Sox. helped to achieve.
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Yelich, who was hitting .228 and slowing to just .351 for the month of July, arrived at American Family Field before that first Twins game with no concrete plans to improve anything and an unnamed team. Was working on some insights from K’s partner, whose input he values.
“I thought, let’s just try some stuff,” Yelich explained Friday before the game. “I started a tee by myself. I was playing with it to see if it could work. I knew I wanted to try something different. I’ve had enough for what I was doing It wasn’t fun to suck every night, so I was going to come up with something different to see if we could get better results.
“I didn’t really know what it was going to be, but I thought it was similar — since I had a leg kick, I always had a movement to time — and I needed something to get to that rhythm.” Had to, otherwise it wasn’t going to work. A no-stride, I don’t think it would have worked for me.
“I have some natural gifts as a hitter that I didn’t want to lose – when I’m good. I feel like it still allows me to be a little more consistent as well as perfect it.
“That’s what I’m trying to do.”
In fact, Yelich has had success spells this season, but nothing that he has been able to sustain for long.
Batting on Friday, he entered .254 with eight home runs and 34 runs to go with .744 OPS. Yelich continues to hit the ball hard, as smoked by an 117.2-mph triple against the Colorado Rockies last weekend (the eighth hardest-hitting ball in the major leagues at the time).
The problem is that most of the time the ball has been on the ground, its rate of 57.9% is at its highest point since 2016.
“For whatever reason, I can’t get my body to do what I want it to,” Yelich said. “Bad habit-wise or whatever, it just isn’t there – movement patterns and sequencing just aren’t the same. I don’t know why. No clue. No one can figure it out. Didn’t determine it by me.” Can go
“So, I thought I’d try something new to see if I could simplify things and try and have a little more success and consistency.”
Manager Craig Counsell said such in-season tweaks are par for the course for most hitters.
“Hitters are doing this a lot. I think in this case we are able to see adjustments,” he said. “That stuff is going on every day, frankly, with every hitter. It’s part of the adjustment in the big leagues.
“Trying to get a feel, trying to get something you can be consistent with — that’s what the hitters are looking for.”
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Getting comfortable with something new, even something as small as a toe tap, can take some time.
Yelich said he plans to look at this current change.
“I think it’s something I want to live with,” he said. “I’ve probably been a little more comfortable than I was anticipating, because when you change your whole timing mechanism, your pitch recognition and all that stuff can get a little tedious. But I’ve actually felt pretty good with it. Better than I thought.
“I thought it would be a bit of a zoo for a couple of weeks, honestly. I’ll try to be more comfortable. I think there’s an adjustment period and I have to feel something; what’s comfortable, What not. What do I want to do? Just ad-lib on the fly, maybe.
“But it’s been good so far.”
On Friday, Yelich scored his first two goals and then moved to sixth from the left with a double rifle. He came up with the first run of the game to score two with two batsmen.
His best work came in seventh. Three times with two outs to Tyrone Taylor and the game tied 1–1, Yelich lines up his 98-mph fastball to score Taylor and put Milwaukee up for good in Boston. Greeting reliever Ryan Brasier.
With 69 starts in left field and 23 others on designated hitters, Yelich is tied for the team lead in games played with 95 and the Brewers were hit with hits (91), runs (64), walks (54) and steals. bases (13 for 13).
Since moving to the leadoff spot on June 8, Yelich has been batting. 296 with a percentage based on three homers, 14 RBI and over .400.
“I love it there,” he said. “I’ll be there as long as they’re with me. I like it. Like I told you guys before, I don’t put too much thought into it. But I like it. I like to kill in front of those guys.” I think I’m still doing a good job at a good clip basis and provide opportunities to score runs for my team and the guys behind me.
Now, to see if the Tor Tap can help unlock some of the older MVP-level Yelich from 2018 and 2019. A slight improvement in the handling of the ball can make a big difference to this offense.
“I have made adjustments and become a really good player before. I think this is one of those times,” he said. “A lot of people hit like that; Why couldn’t I do the same thing? You just have to adjust. He is part of it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work and you come up with something new.
“For now, I’m working with Connor (Dawson) or Ozzy (Timons), trying to make this thing as consistent as possible and go from there.”
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This article was originally published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: A Little Tweak on the Plate Already Brewers Christian Yelich Was Paying for