Well, the Cardinals won't have to pitch around Milwaukee slugger Christian Yelich when the Brewers come to town.
Yelich suffered a broken kneecap Tuesday night in Miami while fouling a ball off his leg -- a cruel blow to him and his team's playoff hopes. He will miss the rest of the season.
"Yeah, he’s down. He’s disappointed. He’s crushed. It’s awful news," Brewers manager Craig Counsell told reporters after the game. "I went out there and his whole body was shaking, so I was really concerned. It was just different looking. When he got up ... I saw him walk down the stairs and I was somewhat optimistic at that point. Obviously, we got some bad news.”
Yelich finished the year with a .329 batting average, 44 homers, 97 RBIs and a mind-blowing on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.100. Those numbers made him a strong candidate to repeat as the National League's Most Valuable Player.
He hit .347 with eight homers, 19 RBIs and a 1.400 OPS against the Cardinals this season.
"First and foremost, we feel awful for Christian. This is a guy who's carried us in a number of ways over the last two years," Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said. "He could've [been] two-and-a-half weeks away from a repeat Most Valuable Player award. So that's where our thoughts go first.
"From a team perspective, we've got a lot of guys in that clubhouse who will hurt tonight. This is a gut punch for a night. And then we need to recover and play really strong baseball. We've been through this before as an organization -- two years ago, almost to the day, we lost Jimmy Nelson to a similarly freak injury, and we competed at a very high level for the remainder of that season. And I expect our team to compete at a similarly high level going forward."
The Brewers soldiered on to beat the Marlins 4-3 Tuesday night for their fifth consecutive victory, which moved them within one game of the Chicago Cubs for the second wild card spot.
“We battled to a win, and that’s what we’re going to have to do the rest of the year," Counsell said. "Just find ways to do it. Guys are going to have to step up. Guys are going to take on bigger roles. We've got a lot of guys doing good things right now, and that's how we're going to have to win games."
But Yelich's injury, following the loss of slugger Keston Hiura to a hamstring strain, diminishes the Milwaukee attack.
"He's one of our leaders, he's our MVP," Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain told MLB.com. "To get that kind of news during the game, a lot of guys were down in the dugout. We continued to battle out there and find a way to get it done, and we put it together at the end and find a way to get a win. We're going to miss him. That's big shoes to fill, and hard to replace."
Here is what folks are writing about Our National Pastime:
Bob Nightengale, USA Today: "If the Astros’ pitching staff isn’t terrifying enough with co-Cy Young favorites Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, future Hall of Famer Zack Greinke and 13-game winner (Wade) Miley, try to somehow beat them when they’re bludgeoning you to death offensively. The Astros became the first team in 66 years, and only the fourth in history, to win consecutive games by at least 15 runs with their 21-1 blowout Sunday over the Seattle Mariners, followed by the 15-0 clobbering Monday night over the Oakland Athletics. They are the only team in history to score at least 36 runs and permit one run or less in consecutive games, not to mention out-hitting their opponents, 39-4. It’s a freak show night after night."
David Schoenfield, ESPN.com: "The Braves continue to play their best baseball of the season and have gone 18-3 in their past 21 games, moving just three games behind the Dodgers for the best record in the National League. Mike Foltnewicz had his best start of the season: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 SO, 1 HR. He threw 71 of 102 pitches for strikes, with the Phillies' chase rate of 37.2% helping him. He got 12 swing-and-misses after getting 14 in his previous two starts combined (both against a bad Blue Jays lineup). That isn't a huge number of misses, but it suggests the stuff is there. Indeed, Foltynewicz hit 97 mph with his fastest pitch of the night and kept the Phillies guessing by throwing his curveball and slider for strikes and mixing in a two-seamer that induced eight ground ball outs on his 14 balls in play. Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins are now both slugging under .500. They've hardly been the biggest problems for the Phillies this season, but considering that 54 qualified regulars are slugging over .500, it's disappointing that those two, playing in a bandbox, haven't fared better. For all the issues in the rotation and the injures in the bullpen, the Phillies expected more from the meat of their order. They've been good ... but not great."
Zach Kram, The Ringer: "A quartet of Red Sox who made a combined $37.45 million this season—Rick Porcello, Mitch Moreland, Steve Pearce, and Brock Holt—will be free agents this winter, and Boston will also shed eight figures in annual payments to Pablo Sandoval. Sure, the club’s future finances are less flexible than those of teams without any long-term, high-cost commitments, but even within a prescribed budget, Boston can put together a winning roster. And that assumption is also worth questioning: Remember, baseball doesn’t have a salary cap, just the over-frightening specter of a rather harmless luxury tax that has nevertheless given financial behemoths in the Bronx and Los Angeles an excuse to cut costs. (Boston owner John Henry, it’s worth noting, is worth an estimated $2 billion to $3 billion—enough zeroes to qualify Henry for Forbes' list of the country’s wealthiest sports owners last fall.) As befits his reputation, (former executive Dave) Dombrowski has also overseen the depletion of Boston’s farm system, which now ranks as the worst in baseball, per FanGraphs, with only one prospect sneaking into the top 100 at 96th overall. Part of this drop is the result of a natural competitive cycle, as the system’s top prospects matriculated to the majors and helped the Red Sox win a championship; the Astros, Yankees, and Cubs also rank in the bottom half of farm systems, even if their outlook is better than Boston’s."
Jon Tayler, SI.com: "The midnight firing of Dave Dombrowski was the kind of news jolt that baseball doesn’t provide all that often anymore. Big, consequential moves have mostly given way to smaller, incremental changes or to a kind of executive inertia. Blockbuster trades, enormous free-agent contracts, Steinbrenner-esque firings and hirings—those are less prevalent than the cautious, risk-averse management style embraced in today’s game. Perhaps it’s fitting that Dombrowski—one of the last of the old breed of general managers who aimed and spent big—should depart in like fashion, creating shock waves with his departure in the same way his trades and signings used to do. In his place, the ultra-rich Red Sox will either hand power to his subordinates (who are currently in charge) or appoint one person to run it all. More likely than not, that person, if hired, will be from the same mold as seemingly every other GM or president of baseball operations: young, white, Ivy League-educated and married to analytics and process. At least, that would be the implication from moving on from Dombrowski, whose strengths were finishing a championship-caliber roster, not building it from the ground up (or refurbishing one once it entered its post-contention decay). And to that end, if control of the Sox does end up in the hands of a Harvard alum and data wonk, then more likely than not, you’ll see Boston do the same thing the rest of the league has done: tighten the belt."
“Even after he walked a couple guys, I believed he was going to right himself. He’s a ground-ball guy. He’s the best guy for us, under those circumstances, to throw a ball into the five-man infield. It just didn’t happen. It was one of those nights.”
Cubs manager Joe Maddon, after reliever Steve Cishek walked three straight batters to force home the winning run in the 10th inning of a 9-8 loss to San Diego.