Padres’ third baseman Mani Machado was removed from Sunday’s match after an injury. Trying to win the game in the beginning, Machado landed awkwardly on the bag and immediately collapsed in pain, eventually needing help to leave the playing field. Although the video replays seemed rather horrible, Padres said the X-rays were negative, declaring the injury a sprain of his left ankle.
The fact that Machado seems to have avoided a fracture is certainly good news, but that doesn’t mean Padres and Machado are completely out of the woods. As noted by Annie Heilbrun from the San Diego Union-Tribuneankle sprains can still take players weeks.
Although the club has not yet given a more detailed statement on the severity of the dislocation or the expected absence of Machado, this is likely to be a serious blow to the club, nonetheless, as Machado is conducting perhaps the best season of his career and is he was perhaps the best player in baseball so far this season. Given that Machado is already one of the best players in the sport in the last decade, the fact that he has taken his game to new heights this year certainly underscores what a great season he has had. Its .329 / .401 / .548 line amounts to 164 wRC +, one of the first ten such numbers in the majors. Combined with his usual excellent defensive work, he has already amassed 4.2 wins over the shift this year, according to FanGraphs, which puts him at the top of all players in the sport.
Thanks to these contributions at the MVP level, the Padres have had an excellent season so far, entering a 41-26 record on Sunday, just half a game back from the Dodgers in the NL West. However, the depth of the field will be tested without Machado, as the club is also wary of the lack of Fernando Tatis Jr.who is still returning after an out-of-season injury. Most of the short-term work has gone Ha-Song Kims Jake Cronenworth on the second base. Sergio Alcantara plays the role of bench / useful player, although he achieves only .171 / .195 / .256 for the year and has not performed much better in his career. Jurixon Profar has a lot of experience in the field, but this year he played only on the left and shows the best offensive performance in his career. He may be moved to the field mix, but the club may also be reluctant to disturb his groove. CJ Abrams has struggled in his first taste of MLB action, but has played well in Triple-A El Paso since he was selected.
No matter who takes over Machado, it will certainly be a reduction. This is not a shot against any of the other players, but rather proof of how good Machado was this year. Even Machado himself was unlikely to keep up, as his .366 BABIP was well ahead of his .300 career mark during the year. All teams are dealing with the challenge of injuries during the season, of course, but for the Padres there is no doubt that this will be hard to bear.