As if the free-falling Brewers needed any more bad news …
Gerardo Parra is starting in Braun’s place on Tuesday night against the Marlins and might have to serve as the club’s primary right fielder going forward if Braun can no longer manage this lingering injury. Braun has been bothered by nerve problems in his right thumb since the first week of the regular season and he is currently sporting a career-worst .794 OPS. He’s batting just .230/.280/.397 since the All-Star break.
Milwaukee has dropped 12 of its last 13 games and would not have a place in the 2014 playoff mix if the season ended right now. This after leading the National League Central for 159 consecutive days.
With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.
It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.
Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.
Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.