Andrew McCutchen is expected to go on the 15-day disabled list, according to Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Cook says that McCutchen could be out for three weeks or a month, and says he might have a serious oblique injury, which he suffered on Sunday.
The injury is a big blow to the Pirates, who are in the thick of a playoff race. They’re currently 1.5 games back and in third place in the NL Central, and half a game back from the second Wild Card spot. Losing their best player, and the MVP of the league, really hurts.
Starling Marte can take over for McCutchen in center field when he completes his rehab work. Gregory Polanco hasn’t had the best start to his career, and the Pirates will need him to step up now, more than ever. Travis Snider could possibly emerge with playing time now, giving him the chance to see if his recent production off the bench has been legit. Since Polanco arrived, Snider has put up a .292/.343/.523 line in 70 plate appearances as a bench player, along with four homers.
The Pirates aren’t the only contender missing their best player, as the Cardinals are missing Yadier Molina for about another month. The Cardinals have managed to stick around in the playoff race, despite this loss. It’s not going to be easy for the Pirates to stay in the playoff race with this loss. You can’t just replace a guy like Andrew McCutchen. If Polanco and/or Snider step up, that would soften the blow a bit, and could allow the Pirates to stick around in the race until McCutchen returns.