It was hard to ignore a pair of offensive juggernauts who seemed to rediscover their talents over the past week. And for their efforts, the Yankees' Gleyber Torres and Brewers' Christian Yelich were recognized on Monday as the American League and National League Players of the Week, presented by W.B.
It was hard to ignore a pair of offensive juggernauts who seemed to rediscover their talents over the past week. And for their efforts, the Yankees' Gleyber Torres and Brewers' Christian Yelich were recognized on Monday as the American League and National League Players of the Week, presented by W.B. Mason.
It seemed every game was Gleyber Day in the Bronx as the Yankees rookie produced one of his best weeks of the year during a period when the Bombers needed someone to play hero. Aaron Judge is recovering from a right wrist injury at glacial speed, Didi Gregorius is sidelined with a left heel contusion and Greg Bird is slumping. New York picked up an outfield reinforcement in five-time All-Star Andrew McCutchen and catcher Gary Sanchez returned from the disabled list, but the Yankees needed someone to step up amidst a heated postseason race.
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Torres hit .478/.571/.870 with a 1.441 OPS, three homers, 10 RBIs, five walks, three runs scored and a stolen base across his last seven games. He was scuffling at the plate since coming off the DL on July 25, a right hip strain that forced the 21-year-old to miss the All-Star Game. Thirty-six games and 130 at-bats later, Torres is once again a threat at the plate. He slammed a two-run homer in the fifth inning against the Tigers on Saturday, the only offense the Yankees needed to slip past Detroit in a 2-1 win.
"I almost forgot about his homer, because the defense was so good," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said on Saturday, as Torres is regularly filling in for the injured Gregorius at shortstop. "He's been special in the field and I thought he played a really good shortstop. ... He's impacted our club in a profound way on both sides of the ball all year."
The Brewers entered Monday a half-game ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card race. Milwaukee enjoyed the fruits of its first-place position in a pennant chase thanks to Yelich -- who capped off a monster week with the first grand slam of his six-year Major League career on Sunday. Yelich helped lead the Brewers to their fourth consecutive series win, hitting .444/.516/1.000 with a 1.516 OPS, four homers, 14 RBIs, a double, a triple and four walks.
Yelich went 12-for-27 on Milwaukee's six-game road trip to Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. -- showcasing feats that made a first career grand slam look minuscule. The 26-year-old notched his first career multihomer game on Tuesday with a solo shot to center and a two-run dinger to deep right at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. A day later, Yelich garnered his first career cycle and first six-hit game in the Brewers' 10-inning 13-12 win over the Reds.
Sunday's grand slam was Yelich's 27th home run of the year, marking 16 homers in 40 games since the All-Star break. As the Brewers enter Monday five games behind the Cubs for second place in the NL Central, Yelich is quickly becoming part of the NL MVP Award conversation.
"Obviously it means you had a good week. And it's hard to do, so it's cool. It's a cool honor," Yelich said of the weekly award. "But everything stays the same. You get recognized for the week you have, but everything else, the mindset, stays exactly the same. Where we're at right now as a team, everybody is trying to contribute to what we've got going in here because we have a chance to do something special.
"I think everybody's focus is on today, and then tomorrow it will be on tomorrow. If you go day to day to day, good things usually happen for the team and for individuals, for all of us. I think that's a great mindset for all of us. Compete as hard as you can today."
Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.