Brandon Phillips came back and played Monday after leaving Sunday’s game with a cramp in his left calf, but it appears he made the injury a whole lot worse tonight.
MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon has the quotes from the Reds second baseman:
The calf is no bueno right now. I tried to play [Monday] because the [10-game] win streak was gorgeous and I wanted to keep it going, so I tried to man up and go out there and play. I hurt it [Monday] just playing, period.
To tell you the truth, I’m not going to be playing for a while. Dr. [Kremchek, Medical Director] looked at it and he said it was worse than what they expected. I didn’t know. I just knew it felt bad.
The Reds are already without their best player in Joey Votto, and now their second best could join him on the DL. Of course, they haven’t missed a beat without Votto, but Phillips will be a bit more difficult to replace at second base. Light-hitting veterans Wilson Valdez and Miguel Cairo are the team’s fallbacks at the position.
If Phillips lands on the DL, 22-year-old second baseman Henry Rodriguez could be called up to make his major league debut. Triple-A Louisville’s other middle infielder, Didi Gregorius, is a more promising prospect, but his experience at second base consists of one appearance in a minor league game in 2009.
Tied at a league-leading 10 home runs apiece with Cody Bellinger and Khris Davis, it wasn’t long before Brewers slugger Christian Yelich set himself apart from the competition yet again. During the bottom of the first inning on Friday, the 2018 NL MVP singled out the first pitch he saw from the Dodgers’ Ross Stripling — an 86.5-m.p.h. slider just wide of the strike zone — and returned it to the second deck seats in right field for his 11th home run of 2019.
While Bellinger and Davis will undoubtedly continue to make it difficult for Yelich to claim sole honors at the top of the leaderboard, the 27-year-old outfielder has had a banner year so far. Through the first three weeks of the season, he’s batting a strong .354/.447/.823 with 15 extra-base hits, 29 RBI, and three stolen bases across 94 plate appearances. The 29 RBI (27 entering Friday’s game) he collected between March and April eclipsed Prince Fielder’s previous franchise record of 26 RBI — and there’s no telling how much higher that total will rise by the end of the month, too.
Even with the benefit of Yelich’s immense talents, however, the Brewers are just clinging to a first-place tie with the Pirates atop the NL Central. They dropped their last two games to the Cardinals and Dodgers, respectively, and will need to overturn the remainder of their series against LA to build up their division lead again. They’re currently tied 2-2 with the Dodgers in the seventh.