What else could go wrong for the Cubs in 2019?
As they suffered through another gut-wrenching loss to the Cardinals on a rainy afternoon at Wrigley Field Sunday, Kris Bryant left with an ankle injury after the third inning.
Bryant grounded into an inning-ending double play and as he stretched to try to beat the throw to first base, his foot slipped on the slick bag and he went down hard, rolling his right ankle in the process:
Kris Bryant leaves the game after this awkward play at first pic.twitter.com/q3tAX0d3KR— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) September 22, 2019
The team is calling it a sprained right ankle for Bryant and the initial x-rays were negative for any fracture. He will undergo an MRI Monday, following the same steps as Anthony Rizzo a week ago.
But don't expect a Rizzo-like return from Bryant in just a few days, as the Cubs are in a much different position now. Following Sunday's loss in the Wrigley season finale, the Cubs are now 4 games out of a playoff spot with only six games remaining. Their playoff chances were only 8.6 percent to start the day and will take another nosedive after Sunday's action (the Brewers won and the Nationals lost, so those two teams are now tied for the top Wild-Card spot.
Bryant has been hampered by a right knee injury over the last few months, so this was the last thing he — or the team — needed right now.
It's the latest in a string of brutal injuries for the Cubs over the last month. First, it was Javy Baez going down with a thumb injury on an awkward slide into second base on Sept. 1. Closer Craig Kimbrel hit the injured list with right elbow inflammation days later and Addison Russell followed after taking a 94 mph fastball to the face.
Veteran reliever Brandon Kintzler has also missed time lately with a left oblique injury and then there was Rizzo's badly sprained ankle a week ago, though he made a miraculous, storybook recovery for the beginning of this Cardinals series.
Exactly a week after Rizzo needed help walking off Wrigley Field, he was out there with his arm around Bryant, leading his injured teammate to the dugout.
At this point, the Cubs may have no need to rush Bryant back to the field if the MRI comes back clean, but they - and he - would certainly be able to breathe easier knowing it is not an injury that would impact his 2020 status in any way.