As September beckons, so do our prayerful pleas to the baseball gods: "Will you please let (my underperforming, frustrating, taking-years-off-my-life team) make the playoffs?"
Some of us, though--fans of well-positioned, pennant-racing squads--are left to wonder: Why do bad injuries happen to good teams?
Recent news of in-the-hunt teams losing stud players to injury has killed some of our playoff buzz. As fans, we want to see the best players performing in crunch time; it's kind of what it's all about. The playoffs will be great, of course, just a little less so without some of these big names on board. Let's take a look at four injuries that will totally ruin the MLB playoffs.
Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
Ugh. The young third baseman will end his season prematurely again, after having surgery on Wednesday on his right knee. After an ugly first half that sapped his power and nearly started a riot with the A's, the 22 year-old Machado had been great since the All-Star break (.301/.337/..458).
The Orioles hope to have Manny back at full strength by spring training, but he'll definitely miss Baltimore's playoff chase, which is a Baltimore-sized bummer, for the fans, but mostly for Manny himself.
Seriously, totally ruined MLB playoffs
Garrett Richards, Los Angeles Angels
Richards, the 26 year-old Angel in the midst of a breakout campaign, is one we--and LA fans--hate to see go. With the Angels positioned to spread their wings and fly to baseball's best record, the Richards injury probably clips those wings a bit. With a 2.61 FIP, a WHIP of 1.04, and an opponent batting average of a cool .200, Richards would have been manager Mike Scioscia's call for, say, an ALDS Game 5 showdown with the A's. Here's to Richards being back in the playoff chase next seeason.
Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals
*Don't want to jinx any KC fans in the nearby vicinity so if you're a superstitious Royals fan maybe just don't read this one.*
Hosmer's stress fracture in his right hand has hardly been a stress to the Kansas City club, who has streaked into first place with a 17-6 month in Hosmer's absence. Still, the Royals need his bat, and his glove, and the overall juju that comes from having one of your best and most exciting players in your lineup. Plus, KC needs to keep Raul Ibanez as far away from the baseball field as possible. Hosmer has been cleared to swing a bat, and should return by mid-September.
Sean Doolittle, Oakland A's
The bearded hitter-turned-closer has been a revelation for this year's A's squad, and it looks like Doolittle might miss a good chunk of the A's remaining regular season games. The 27 year-old has been awesome this year, striking out over 13 batters per nine, and hasn't given up a run since the All-Star break (!). The A's will probably figure out a way to make it work, employing Luke Gregerson, Ryan Cook, or Eric O'Flaherty. But it would be a blow for the A's--and for us--to not see the gritty Doolittle dealing in meaningful late-inning games.
All we want to do is see Manny Machado go all Brooks Robinson on us in a playoff game. But maybe we're wrong--maybe it is more compelling to see the likes of Ryan Flaherty man the hot corner for the Orioles' stretch run. Do you find yourself less interested when big names go down to injury? What other injured guys will your team be missing this postseason?