Baseball is back in full swing, and the 20 or so games we've seen so far have been glorious. Although we haven't even completed a third of the season, we still have storylines and players worth highlighting this early. We'll be taking a look at the most interesting takeaways every week this MLB season so check back every Sunday for the recap. Now, here's what we learned from Week 4 in MLB:
Yelich looks unstoppable
We mentioned Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich in our because he had homered in each of his first four games to open his 2019 campaign. The reigning National League MVP gets another nod because he's still crushing home runs at a rapid-fire pace. Yelich is slashing .455/.538/1.545 with eight home runs, 16 RBI and four walks over his past six games. He hit his MLB-leading 12th and 13th home runs in Saturday's win over the Dodgers at Miller Park (MIL 5, LAD 0), setting two Brewers records in the process.
His third inning solo shot off Hyun-Jin Ryu set the franchise record for home runs before the end of April (12), and his second blast of the night -- in the sixth, again off Ryu -- tied Prince Fielder's franchise record set in May of 2007 for most home runs in a single month (13).
And those aren't the only records Yelich is closing in on.
The 27-year-old is one homer away from tying the MLB record for home runs before May 1, set by Albert Pujols in 2006 and matched by Alex Rodriguez in 2007 (14). The Brewers have nine games left in April (Dodgers, Cardinals, Mets, Rockies), with three of them at . It doesn't look like Yelich is going to be slowing down anytime soon, so make sure you tune in for his next couple of at-bats -- Brewers fans can stream regionally via fuboTV (Try for free). It's can't-miss baseball.
Carrasco has a strong turnaround
After beginning the season on a sour note, Cleveland Indians starter Carlos Carrasco appears to be back to himself. Carrasco gave up six earned runs in the shortest outing in his career on April 12 (six runs in 2/3 of an inning) against the Royals, and he told reporters the following the game: "Tonight nothing was there," Carrasco told Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com. "My command, my velo. Really nothing was there. Yes, I feel healthy. That's the most important thing. But I couldn't find myself. Nothing was there, man."
In his fourth start of the season -- a 1-0 win over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday -- Carrasco looked solid through seven scoreless innings. He finished with 12 strikeouts (the second time this season he's whiffed 12 in a start), and struck out the side three times, only allowing one runner to reach third base. He racked up 23 swinging strikes in his 108 pitches, with 72 total strikes.
The drastic turnaround is not only encouraging for Carrasco, but it's reassuring for Cleveland since it's widely considered the favorite to come out of the American League Central due to its dominant rotation. With Mike Clevinger not set to , the big arms of Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Shane Bieber and Carrasco have been picking up the slack.
First-place Pirates are intriguing
Since starting the 2019 season 6-5, the Pirates have gone on to win six of seven to move to 12-6. They have racked up five straight wins from April 14-20 and as of Sunday, they own the best winning percentage in baseball at .667 (tied with Seattle and Tampa Bay). Pittsburgh's starters have combined for a 1.93 ERA -- the best in MLB -- and they've put together 13 quality starts. It's also the first time in franchise history that the pitching staff has recorded three shutouts through the first six games. The Rays and Mariners have been getting a decent amount of attention for their hot (and mostly unexpected) starts to the season, but the Pirates that have definitely been the most surprising team thus far.
Aside from the bad news we got from Friday's ugly collision in the outfield (Starling Marte, Erik Gonzalez heading to the IL), Pittsburgh still has a lot of positives to be excited about. The rotation is the most significant bright spot, and as , the starting pitchers can be good enough to keep them in contention. That may very well be true, as the Bucs more than doubled their postseason odds from 9.8 percent on Opening Day to 26.7 percent on Sunday, according to FanGraphs. We're still obviously early into the season, but the fact that Pittsburgh isn't backing down to its NL Central foes means that it could be in the mix for at least a wild-card spot come late summer and into September. Only time will tell if the team's rotation, fronted by Chris Archer, Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams, can continue to pitch as well as they have been thus far.