Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers' Christian Yelich's hot streak reminds us of Barry Bonds in 2002

Brewers' Christian Yelich's hot streak reminds us of Barry Bonds in 2002

Through the first four games of the 2019 MLB season, Christian Yelich is making a statement.

It's clear the second half of last season was no mirage for the Brewers' slugger. The 2018 National League MVP is just the sixth player in MLB history to start a season with home runs in four consecutive games. He joins Willie Mays (1971), Mark McGwire (1998), Nelson Cruz (2011), Chris Davis (2013), and Trevor Story (2016). 

Yelich's hot start gave us a flashback of better times, when the Giants' offense was good for more than just five runs in four games.

Remember how Barry Bonds started off the 2002 season? Let us remind you. 

Bonds, of course, broke the single-season home run the year before with 73 long balls. But he wasn't done hitting dingers.

On Opening Day of the 2002 season, he picked up right where he left off. 

Bonds went 3-for-4 with two home runs in a 9-2 win over the Dodgers in Los Angeles. He went yard in the second inning against starting pitcher Kevin Brown, and then again in the seventh off reliever Omar Daal. 

And that was just the beginning to what would be a ridiculous first series in Southern California. 

What did Bonds do for an encore?

In Game 2 of the season, Bonds casually hit two more home runs, drove in four runs, and added two walks (one intentional). In the first 18 innings of the 2002 season, Bonds had four home runs and nine RBI.

Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully couldn't help but marvel at the display of dominance Bonds was showing at Chavez Ravine. 

The streak ended in Game 3 with Bonds *only* going 1-for-2 with a double. For those of you keeping track at home, he hit .750 (6-for-8) with four home runs, one double and nine RBI in three games against the Dodgers. 

[RELATED: What Giants can learn from Padres' rebuild after losing opening series]

Oh, he hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning against the Padres in the next game, the Giants' home opener. 

Bonds went on to win his second of four straight NL MVP awards in 2002. At 37 years old, he hit .370 with 46 home runs and a 1.381 OPS.

There's Yelich hot and then there's Bonds hot. Whenever anyone finds a power surge, it's another reminder that nobody did it better than Barry.

New Giants catcher Erik Kratz leaves a presence everywhere he goes

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USATSI

New Giants catcher Erik Kratz leaves a presence everywhere he goes

Death, taxes, and Giants transactions.

That appears to be the theme of the week.

A few transactions were made on Saturday, and on Sunday morning, the Giants acquired veteran Erik Kratz in a trade for minor league infielder, C.J. Hinojosa.

But this isn't an article about moves being made, or trades being implemented. This is about the 38-year-old catcher who leaves a presence behind with anyone he meets -- and he's met a lot of people.

Kratz coming to the Giants means this will be the eighth big-league team he will roster for and, in total, 11 organizations -- er, 12 now. 

Last season, during his time with the Brewers, he became the oldest position player to make his first postseason start since Lave Cross did in 1905.  

And how did he do during that debut? Well:

During Game 2 of the National League Division Series, he hit a two-run, eighth-inning single that gave the Brewers a 2-0 advantage in the eventual 4-0 win over the Rockies. And he was beyond thankful for the opportunity as he told MLB.com's Adam McCalvy last year.

"If you told me 16 years ago that I'd be here today I wouldn't have changed the path that I took," Kratz said. "I never gave up. I've been blessed every day to be in this situation."

His friends had surprised him during the postseason -- and each one of them sported one of his jerseys from each of the teams he played on. And when he was asked about what they would think about seeing him on the big stage, they would probably ask about his "nasty facial hair" and say he "looks fat on TV."

I spoke to Robert Murray who is the Brewers' beat writer for The Athletic. Through the phone, you could hear his excitement at the opportunity to talk all things Kratz.

"This is right up my alley," Murray told NBC Sports Bay Area. "I love Kratz."

Then Murray told me a story about him. One that made Murray a little sad Kratz would no longer sport a Milwaukee uniform.

"I had asked Josh Fields if he knew anyone in the Brewers' clubhouse besides Yasmani Grandal when I heard Kratz say in the background, 'Robert, that's a stupid question." After the interview, I asked him what made the question stupid when he replied, 'You should know by now that basically everybody in baseball has played baseball with Erik Kratz." Even in the toughest of situations, knowing on Feb. 1, that he wouldn't make the Brewers, he was a true professional and kept a strong sense of humor."

Murray said that is what he will remember about Kratz.

Don't worry, I didn't rub it in his face too much the Giants had gained a great human, but I will say it got me excited to see what he can add to that team, to that clubhouse, to that organization.

For those of you who say, "I don't care, give me his stats." This isn't one of those articles.

You know where to find his numbers.

Stephen Vogt calls chance to play with Giants 'lifelong dream of mine'

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AP

Stephen Vogt calls chance to play with Giants 'lifelong dream of mine'

Stephen Vogt became a fan favorite in Oakland over his five seasons with the A's. But, his roots have always been in San Francisco as a Giants fan. 

“It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to play for the Giants,” Vogt said to the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s going to come true this year.”

Growing up in Visalia, Vogt and his family ventured to San Francisco every year to watch his two favorite players, Will Clark and Barry Bonds. On Monday, Vogt and the Giants agreed to a minor-league contract, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area.

The 34-year-old catcher arrived in Arizona on Monday night and is expected to take his physical Tuesday when Giants pitchers and catchers report to camp. 

“I’ve kind of had a Christmas-morning feel the whole time since we agreed," Vogt said. 

The Giants have been seeking depth at catcher behind Buster Posey, who underwent hip surgery in August. On the same day they agreed to a deal with Vogt, the team's former backup behind the dish, Nick Hundley, agreed to a deal with the A's.

“The chance to catch alongside Buster and learn from him and work together and help win games, I’m super excited for that,” Vogt said.

[RELATED: Giants show frustration with MLB's slow free agency as offseason ends]

Vogt missed the entire 2018 season as a member of the Brewers as he recovered from shoulder surgery. He told the San Francisco Chronicle that he's throwing nearly 90 percent from 150 feet and nearly 100 percent from 90 feet, though he needs to work more on throwing from the crouch. He's also played 73 games at first base in his career and 21 in the outfield. 

As A's fans chanted "I believe in Stephen Vogt," he became a two-time All-Star in Oakland. Vogt is a career .251 hitter and has 57 home runs to his name.