SAN DIEGO — The reeling Phillies may have lost more than their fifth straight game Monday night.
Andrew McCutchen, the team’s valuable leadoff man, went down with a left knee sprain on a base-running play in the first inning of the team’s 8-2 loss to the San Diego Padres.
Some three hours later, McCutchen stood in front of his locker in the visiting clubhouse at Petco Park and leaned on a single crutch.
Speaking softly, McCutchen said he was not worried about his condition.
“I have no clue,” he said when asked if he believed he would require a trip to the injured list. “I could wake up tomorrow and feel better.
“The mobility is there, but it is sore. I’m not going to lie.”
Moments after speaking with reporters and saying he was not worried, McCutchen tweeted the following:
“Pray for me. Please.”
A better read on McCutchen’s condition will come on Tuesday when he has an MRI. He said he had an ACL injury in high school and this did not compare in the level of discomfort. He said he felt no pop.
"If it was blown out they would have been like, 'Hey, your knee is torn,'" McCutchen said. "I didn’t get that information. They’re not certain with whatever they feel because everything feels good, but they’d rather me go in to get the MRI just to see if there’s something more."
The Phillies have made contingency plans for the possibility of McCutchen going on the injured list. Outfielder Adam Haseley, the team’s first-round pick in 2017, is on his way to the West Coast just in case McCutchen goes on the injured list. Even if the Phils receive good news and learn that the injury is minor, it’s likely that McCutchen will require a trip to the IL. He does, after all, have at least a sprained knee. With McCutchen hurting, the Phillies are thin at center field. Manager Gabe Kapler said he'd have no hesitation in using Haseley, who has played just six games above the Double A level.
Kapler was not in a good mood after the game. Frankly, he had a lot to be pissed-off about.
His team’s trip to Southern California has so far been disastrous with four losses in as many days. His team’s lead on Atlanta for first place in the NL East is down to a half-game. His team has scored just eight runs in the last four games. His team has hit just .168 (21 for 125) over the last four games. His ace, Aaron Nola, got rocked for six runs in 5⅓ innings Monday night. Manny Machado, a guy he tried to help recruit to Philadelphia over the winter, belted an in-your-face grand slam. And he may have lost his leadoff man on a play that might have been avoidable.
McCutchen led off the game with a walk. The next batter, Jean Segura, popped up to second base. Segura slipped in the batter’s box then did not run hard down the first base line. Ian Kinsler, the Padres’ alert second baseman, noticed Segura’s lack of hustle, let the pop up fall in and proceeded to start a double play.
McCutchen, who anchored himself at first on the pop up, tried to go to second when the ball dropped. He eventually got in a rundown and fell to the ground and grabbed his knee trying to get back to first base.
None of this might have happened if Segura had regained his footing in the batter’s box and busted it down the line.
“Jean and I discussed it after the game,” Kapler said. “He did slip out of the batter's box. He didn't run his hardest out of the batter's box. He owned that. He was an absolute professional about it. He didn't make any excuses for it. He says it won't happen again.”
Segura didn’t hide from his mistake.
“No excuse, not acceptable,” he said.
He admitted to being frustrated by popping up.
“Yeah, absolutely,” he said. “I popped up. I don’t have any excuse. I slipped at home plate. I have to get up and run the bases. I need to do a better job.
“I don’t think the injury came because of that. It’s part of the game. As a human and a grown man, I know I made a mistake not running the bases.”
McCutchen spoke with Segura after the game. Everything was good between them.
“I was replaying it in my head and just thinking about what I could have done different,” McCutchen said. “I always think about that stuff. I didn’t know Jean wasn’t close (to first base). Had I known he wasn’t close, I would have stayed on the bag and stood there. I didn’t know. It was kind of like the golden retriever going after a stick. The ball drops and I’m going. Replay it, you should have did this or that.
“At the end, it happened the way it happened and now here we are.”
Yep. Here the Phillies are, losers of a season-high five straight and holding their breath that their leadoff man is not hurt seriously.
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