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Brewers’ Christian Yelich is proving that his 2018 MVP season was no fluke

Brewers’ Christian Yelich is proving that his 2018 MVP season was no fluke
Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich hits a double during a game against the Cincinnati Reds on March 1. (John Minchillo / Associated Press)

A look at who’s hot and who’s not in Major League Baseball this week:

THREE UP

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1) Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich continues to reside on another plane of hitting, as his first week in 2019 made it look like his second half of 2018, which culminated in the MVP award, wasn’t a fluke. Yelich launched four homers and reached base in more than half of his plate appearances as the Brewers raced to the front of the National League Central.

2) The hype looks believable for the Philadelphia Phillies. With Bryce Harper in the center of their lineup, their offense figures to be formidable. Harper provided three homers in his first five games, and third baseman Maikel Franco hit three.

3) After trading away assets this winter, could the Seattle Mariners still contend? Probably not, but general manager Jerry Dipoto assembled an intriguing roster of post-hype players such as outfielder Domingo Santana, outfielder Mallex Smith and shortstop Tim Beckham. The Mariners were the first team in baseball to reach seven wins.

THREE DOWN

1) Theo Epstein called this a “year of reckoning” for the Cubs, who have a lame-duck manager, an elevated payroll and sky-high expectations. The early returns were ugly as the Cubs lost five of their first six, with their pitchers walking 41 batters in 49 1/3 innings and their defense committing nine errors.

2) With the Oakland Athletics likely to regress from their 97-win campaign in 2018, the Angels could fill the vacuum in the American League West. Except their start was ugly. The Angels dropped five of six on their opening road trip, and Matt Harvey got pounded by the Texas Rangers in the home opener.

3) Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis must be the only man in America who earns $23 million a year — and every year through 2022 — worthy of pity. Lost at the plate in 2018, Davis started this season with 11 strikeouts and zero hits in his first 17 at-bats.

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