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What Christian Yelich’s Injury means for the NL Wild Card Race

Yelich

On Tuesday night the Milwaukee Brewers received some devastating news. Reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich fouled a ball off his kneecap resulting in fracturing it. He has been ruled out for the rest of the season. This is a huge blow for the Brewers, as Yelich is the heart and soul of the offense. He was hitting .329, with 44 home runs, 98 RBIs and had an OPS of 1.100. He was on track to win his second straight MVP award, as well as lead the Brewers to the playoffs for the second straight year. Now everything changes. Yelich’s absence affects the entire NL wild-card race. Here’s how.

NL Wild Card shakeup

The Milwaukee Brewers have won six straight including Tuesday’s game even though Yelich left in the first inning. Despite their recent surge, the Brewers have plenty of holes that Yelich was able to help cover. Milwaukee’s starting rotation ranks 12th in the NL in ERA with a 4.62. Yelich was able to partly overcome the pitching problems by providing plenty of offense. Now Ryan Braun, Mike Moustakas, and Yasmani Grandal must carry the offense. The Brewers have a -25 run differential and the offense struggled throughout the season even with the MVP in the fold. Now without him, the Brewers are vulnerable. The Brew Crew is tied with the Cubs for the second wild-card spot. Fortunately for Milwaukee, besides a series against the Cardinals, their remaining games are against teams with losing records.

The Chicago Cubs are in a free fall and also found out one of their stars Javier Baez is out and won’t return until the playoffs start. Even so, the Cubs still have Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo who will help channel the offense in his absence. The Cubs also have a much stronger starting rotation than the Brewers which will take loads off the offense.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are only two and a half games out of the second wild-card spot. And they are in a similar situation to the Brewers when it comes to the remaining schedule. Besides a series against the Cardinals, the rest of their games are also against teams with losing records. The Diamondbacks are a surprise to be in the playoff hunt despite all of the turnover they have endured in the last two years.

The Mets and Phillies are both only two games out, but have tough remaining schedules. Philly has five games left against the Nationals, two against the Boston Red Sox, three games against the Cleveland Indians, and four against the Atlanta Braves. The Mets still have three games against the Braves and three against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both teams have upward battles if they want to claim a wild card spot. Despite Yelich’s injury, both teams might still miss the wild card solely due to the Brewers and Diamondbacks having softer schedules.

Here is the percentage each team has to make the playoffs according to ESPN.

Milwaukee Brewers- 33.4%

Chicago Cubs-  49.9%

Philadelphia Phillies- 3.6%

New York Mets- 19.9%

Arizona Diamondbacks- 5.3%

The Brewers still have the second best chance to make the playoffs despite the loss of their MVP. With two weeks left in the season, the NL wild card is gonna come down to the wire, and with Yelich out, it’s anyone’s game.

Feature Image From CBS Sports

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