The box score says it wasn’t a great night for the four Brewers who appeared in the 90th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, but the fact that Milwaukee's most valuable player took the field at all qualified as positive news for a team intent on being better when it returns
The box score says it wasn’t a great night for the four Brewers who appeared in the 90th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, but the fact that Milwaukee's most valuable player took the field at all qualified as positive news for a team intent on being better when it returns to work on Friday.
Christian Yelich became the 20th Brewers player to start an All-Star Game after reluctantly bowing out of Monday’s T-Mobile Home Run Derby because of back spasms and went 0-for-2 before calling it a night in the National League’s 4-3 loss to the American League in Cleveland.
“I was hoping I was going to able to play, and fortunately, everything worked out,” Yelich said. “I feel healthy. We’re good to go. Now I get to rest up for the next two days and get ready for the second half.”
Yelich became the second Brewers player to bat leadoff in an All-Star Game -- Rickie Weeks was the other, in Phoenix in 2011 -- and lined out against AL starter Justin Verlander of the Astros in the first inning before taking a called third strike against the Twins’ Jose Berrios in the third.
The "Yeli-Beli" duo was one of the highlights of All-Star week. Yelich and Cody Bellinger are the two leading contenders for the NL Most Valuable Player Award as the second half gets underway.
“I’ve known him for a few years. We’re doing a lot of stuff together obviously, which is cool,” Yelich said. “It’s great to promote the game. It’s good for baseball. And it’s not a fake friendship or us putting on an act. We’re friends, and it’s been a good, fun, competitive little race over the course of this year. I wish him all the best.”
The three Brewers position players in the game -- Yelich, Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas -- were held hitless in five at-bats. Moustakas fouled out with runners at second and third and the NL down a run in the eighth inning. Grandal walked and scored in that inning, but he also struck out against Aroldis Chapman in the ninth to end the game.
Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff, the only first-time All-Star in the Brewers’ contingent, recorded two outs in the seventh inning but was charged with a run on a hit and a walk. He took the roster spot of Josh Hader, who attended festivities in Cleveland bit didn’t pitch because of back soreness.
It marked the second straight year that the Brewers had five All-Stars.
“For us as a whole, it tells you what our front office is putting together and where we’re looking to be headed, and that’s obviously getting to the World Series,” Hader said. “We missed it last year, so that’s our goal this year to push forward and move on and get that World Series.”
Said Woodruff: “It says a lot about the team. We have a really good team in Milwaukee. We’re representing pretty well here.”
Now the Brewers have work to do, though that is true of the entire NL Central. It’s the tightest division in baseball, led by the 47-43 Cubs followed by the 47-44 Brewers, with the Reds in last place but just 4 1/2 games back. Milwaukee resumes play on Friday night at home against the Giants.
“All the teams are in position to compete down the stretch, and it’s about who executes,” Yelich said. “It should be a fun race into September. Hopefully everyone is still around, and there will be some good atmospheres around those ballparks.”
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.