Here's what Christian Yelich needs to do to earn first NL Triple Crown in 81 years

The Brewers on Monday will play the Cubs in a tiebreaker game to determine the NL Central title for 2018. That's game No. 163 for both teams, and those stats will count toward the regular season. That means that Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich still has a shot at winning the Triple Crown. 

In the win over Detroit on Sunday, he went 0 for 2 with a pair of walks and two runs scored, so he didn't improve his standing insofar as the Triple Crown is concerned. By way of reminder, to win the Triple Crown a hitter must lead his league in batting average, home runs, and RBI. 

While most of the attention this season with regards to the Triple Crown had been focused on J.D. Martinez of the Boston Red Sox, it's Yelich who will enter the tiebreaker day within striking distance of becoming the first NL player to pull off the feat in 81 years. Joe Medwick, of the Cardinals, was the last to do it, back in 1937. Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera was the last AL player to earn a Triple Crown back in 2012.

Now here's where Yelich stands going into Monday's game at Wrigley Field:

  • Batting average: After Sunday, Yelich leads the NL with a .323 batting average, which gives him a 13-point edge over the Reds' Scooter Gennett, who's in second place. So Yelich is safe there. 

  • Home runs: Unfortunately for Yelich, Nolan Arenado homered twice on Sunday, and he now leads the NL with 37. Yelich is tied for second with 36, alongside Matt Carpenter and Trevor Story. Arenado and Story will of course be playing in their own tiebreaker on Monday. As well, teammate Jesus Aguilar has 35 homers, so he's also a threat. Yelich has to homer at least once and hope Arenado is kept in the yard against the Dodgers.

  • Runs batted in: Yelich remains two behind Javier Baez, and he's now tied with Arenado. So consider the Baez-Yelich RBI battle a subplot in Monday's tiebreaker. Yelich needs to out-RBI him by two while also having Arenado stay in check. 

While it's looking unlikely that Yelich will be able to pull it off, but it's possible that on Monday he'll be celebrating a division title and a Triple Crown.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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