Wed Sep 11 4:04am ET
Christian Yelich is gone for the season due to a fractured right kneecap, which could prove to be a crippling blow for the Milwaukee Brewers' hopes for a playoff berth.
The Brewers, who will go for their sixth straight win on Wednesday night against the host Miami Marlins, are bidding for a National League wild-card spot.
That effort took a grim turn Tuesday night when Yelich -- a strong candidate to win his second straight NL Most Valuable Player award -- left the game in the top of the first inning after he fouled a ball off his right knee.
Yelich struggled to get to his feet before he was finally able to walk off the field on his own. However, he showed his frustration -- and a hint to the severity of his injury -- when he slammed his helmet down upon reaching the Brewers dugout.
Yelich leads the majors in OPS (1.100) while leading the Brewers in batting average (.329), doubles (29), homers (44), RBIs (97) and steals (30).
Brewers general manager David Stearns said he does not know if surgery will be required or exactly how long Yelich will be sidelined.
"We feel awful for Christian," Stearns said. "He has carried us in a number of ways for the past couple of years. He could've been a couple of weeks away from a repeat as league MVP.
"For a lot of guys in our locker-room, this is a gut punch. But we need to recover and play strong baseball."
The Brewers did get good injury news on Tuesday: Third baseman Mike Moustakas -- who hasn't started a game since Sept. 2 due to an injured left hand -- was used as a pinch hitter and drew a walk. He could get a start on Wednesday, especially with Yelich injured.
Moustakas is second to Yelich on the team in doubles (28), homers (31) and RBIs (76).
Milwaukee will also get starting shortstop Orlando Arcia back from paternity leave for the final game of this series on Thursday. His fiancee, Elena, gave birth to twin daughters on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the starting pitchers for Wednesday's game are a pair of right-handers: Miami's Pablo Lopez (5-8, 4.75 ERA) against Zach Davies (9-7, 3.69 ERA).
Lopez pitched six scoreless innings in his only other meeting against Milwaukee this year, on June 4. In two career starts against the Brewers, Lopez is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA.
At Marlins Park this year, Lopez is 3-3 with an impressive 2.68 ERA in nine starts.
Davies had lost five straight decisions until his most recent outing, beating the Chicago Cubs 7-1 on Friday. Davies allowed three hits, one walk and one run in five innings against Chicago.
In his previous six starts, he had posted a 0-5 record with a 7.76 ERA.
Davies is 3-2 with a 5.67 ERA in five career starts against the Marlins. But in a pair of starts at Marlins Park, Davies is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA.
He has not faced the Marlins -- who have the worst record in the National League -- this year.
Meanwhile, Marlins manager Don Mattingly, despite Tuesday's 4-3 loss, was pleased with his team's effort and said he hopes it carries over to Wednesday.
"A lot of good things happened, lot of good at-bats -- just a good game in general," he said. "We just didn't get over the hump."
--Field Level Media