Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Andrew McCutchen suffered a season-ending knee injury when he tore his ACL in a rundown during freak play against the San Diego Padres.

McCutchen Phillies Injury
Training staff attend to Phillies CF Andrew McCutchen after he injures his knee in a rundown against the San Diego Padres in Petco Park. (Image: AP)

The Phillies won the game on Monday night, but lost McCutchen for the remainder of the season. Before he went down, McCutchen was hitting only .256 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI.

McCutchen is five-time All-Star a career .286 hitter who spent the first nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He won the MVP in 2013 and won a Golden Glove in 2012. He slugged 203 home runs and added 171 stolen bases during his tenure with the Pirates.

Last season, McCutchen played most of 2018 with the San Francisco Giants but he joined the Yankees late in season after Aaron Judge fractured his hand.

Freak Play

The infield fly rule only applies to pop ups in the infield with runners on first and second base (and/or third base). That prevents the defense from angleshooting a double play.

The infield fly rule does not apply to a single runner on first base. Every once in a while, a player does not run properly to first base so an infielder will let the pop up fall on purpose in an attempt to secure a double play.

In the Padres and Phillies game, that exact instance occurred. With McCutchen on first base, Jean Segura popped up to second base. Segura slipped at home plate and did not get up in an expeditious manner. Second baseman Ian Kinsler saw an opportunity for a double play and allowed the ball to plop down in front of him. The ball bounced up and he fired it to first base. McCutchen got stuck in a bad spot and he opted for a rundown. During the rundown, he blew out his knee and fell to the ground as the Padres tagged him out.

Another Bad Beat in Philly

Last December, the Phillies signed McCutchen to a three-year deal worth $50 million. At the time, the Phillies were one of the teams in the running to sign Bryce Harper, but had not signed him yet. The Phillies and Harper finally agreed to a 13-year deal at the start of Spring Training in early March.

With Harper in right field and McCutchen in centerfield, the Phillies were in position to contend with the Atlanta Braves for the NL East crown. However, Harper got off to a slow start with a .277/.356/.476 slash line. Through 61 games, Harper hit 11 home runs and 43 RBI.

The blown ACL puts the Phillies in a tough spot. The Phillies were already thin in the outfield after Odubel Herrera’s suspension for a domestic violence incident. Backup outfielder Roman Quinn is also injured. The Phillies recently acquired OF Jay Bruce in a trade with the Seattle Mariners. Bruce is expected to fill in for Herrera.

Without McCutchen, the Phillies had no choice except to promote Adam Haseley. The Phillies called up Haseley to the show from AAA Lehigh Valley. They selected him with the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. Third baseman Scott Kingery will also split some time in centerfield with the rookie.

“What could I have done different?” said McCutchen. “What should have I done different? At the end of the day, there’s nothing I can do to change it.”

The LA Dodgers (43-19) became the first team to win 40 games. The Dodgers swept the Phillies (34-27) over the weekend. The first-place Phillies still hold a half-game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East, but without McCutchen and Herrera, they smell blood in the water.

According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book, the Houston Astros at 4/1 odds and LA Dodgers at 5/2 odds are the top two favorites to win the 2019 World Series. El Mago and the Cubs surged in recent weeks to move to the top of the board at 6/1. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies are 15/1 odds to win the World Series.

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