Christian Yelich out for season with fractured right knee cap, a devastating blow to Brewers' playoff chances

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The Brewers' attempt to leapfrog their way into the postseason suffered a devastating blow on Tuesday.

Following their game against the Marlins, the Brewers announced that Christian Yelich is out for the rest of the season with a fractured right knee cap. Yelich, the 2018 National League MVP, fouled a pitch off of his knee in the first inning Tuesday. He immediately went down in pain and was removed from the game shortly after, unable to finish his at-bat.

With Yelich's injury, the top-2 finishers in the 2018 NL MVP voting are now out with injuries. The Cubs announced Monday that Javier Báez will miss the rest of the regular season with a hairline fracture in his left thumb. Báez could return in October, should the Cubs reach the postseason, however.

Although the Brewers beat the Marlins 4-3 Tuesday, there's no sugarcoating this one: losing Yelich is a devastating blow to Milwaukee's playoff chances.

While Yelich's 2018 season was nothing short of fantastic -- .326/.402/.598 slash line with 36 home runs in 147 games -- he's managed to top that in 2019. He'll finish the season with a .329/.429/.671 slash line with 44 home runs in just 130 games. The numbers tell the story when it comes to him, but the impact he has on the Brewers goes even deeper.

The Cubs saw firsthand what Yelich brings to the table every plate appearance last weekend. He makes opposing pitchers work extremely hard to get him out, though the Cubs struggled to do this in the four-game series against the Brewers. Yelich finished the series 6-for-13 with four walks -- three of which came on Saturday, when he hit a walk-off double off Cubs reliever Brandon Kintzler.

That at-bat was prototypical Yelich, who laid off two low pitches while also fouling off two borderline pitches. Kintzler's last pitch was an extremely competitive one: a sinker on the outside corner. Yelich still managed to deposit it into the left field corner for a game-winning double.

While no one is celebrating a former MVP going down with a scary injury, the Yelich news has positive and negative repercussions for the Cubs. The Brewers have a three-game series against the Cardinals this weekend, meaning St. Louis will catch a huge break not having to face Yelich. This hurts the Cubs, who entered Tuesday four games behind the Cardinals for first place in the NL Central.

The Brewers could move to 1.5 games back of the Cubs for the second NL wild card spot, should the latter lose to the Padres on Tuesday. Even so, Milwaukee has an uphill battle ahead of them. One doesn't replace what Yelich brings to the lineup every game: instant offense, great baserunning and solid defense in right field.

Nothing is impossible, but there's no doubting that the Brewers have their work cut out for them moving forward. 

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