MVP candidate Christian Yelich out for season with fractured knee cap

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MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 06:  Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers walks to the dugout during a game against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park on September 06, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Christian Yelich's season is over. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The National League playoff chase — and the MVP race — just got an unfortunate shakeup.

Milwaukee Brewers star Christian Yelich is out for the season with a fractured knee cap, the team announced Tuesday.

Yelich sustained the injury by hitting a foul ball off his knee during the first inning of the Brewers’ game against the Miami Marlins. Yelich immediately fell to the ground, but eventually walked off the field on his own power.

It has not yet been decided if Yelich will need surgery, nor has a timetable to return been determined. He will fly back to Milwaukee on Wednesday for further testing.

Christian Yelich was a top MVP candidate

Losing Yelich is an enormous blow to Brewers, who currently find themselves 5.5 games back from the NL Central-leading Cardinals and 1.5 games back from the Chicago Cubs for the second NL wild-card spot.

At the time of his injury, Yelich led the National League in both on-base percentage (.430) and slugging percentage (.672) and seemed to be only getting better as the season went on. He had recently become just the 10th player in MLB history to post 40 home runs (he’s currently at 44) and 30 stolen bases in a season.

Yelich won the MVP award last year with a scorching hot second half, and he was set to compete with Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger down the stretch for the same award this year.

Since Yelich was acquired in a trade with the Marlins following the 2017 season, few players, if any, have been as important to their lineups as the 27-year-old has been to the Brewers.

“This is a guy who has carried us in a number of ways over the last two years. Could have been two-and-a-half weeks from a repeat Most Valuable Player award.” Brewers general manager David Stearns said to reporters. “We have a lot of guys in that clubhouse who will hurt tonight. This is a gut punch.”

Without Yelich, the Brewers’ season outlook seems bleak. Stearns pointed to another past injury, Jimmy Nelson’s shoulder injury in 2017, as an example of an injury the team has to power through. The Brewers finished 86-76 that year, missing the playoffs.

“We’ve been through this before as an organization,” Stearns said. “Two years ago almost to the day, we lost Jimmy Nelson to a similarly freak injury. We competed at a very high level for the remainder of that season. I expect our team to compete at a similarly high level going forward.”

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