In what can only be described as an “odd” situation yesterday in San Diego, outfielder Milton Bradley hurt his knee in an altercation with a first base umpire (You can read the entire story here and here Bradley’s explanation here.)
While the big story everyone is focusing on today is the actions of the umpire and what he did or did not say to Bradley, the piece everyone is overlooking is Bradley’s knee injury. He is currently listed as day-to-day, but to have someone as important as Bradley out of the Padres’ lineup could be crucial.
Entering today, the Padres only have a ½ game lead on the Philadelphia Phillies for the Wild Card lead. While Bradley can be emotional, he is still an important leader on the field and the Padres can not afford to have his bat absent from their lineup for very long. Bradley is hitting .306/.402/.545 this season between Oakland and San Diego with 13 homers and 37 RBI. With a Padres lineup that at times can struggle to score runs, losing Bradley for an extended period of time could influence their playoff hopes.
To see how valuable Bradley is to the Padres, I took a look at how the Padres team has done this season on offense. They have scored 688 runs on the season (4.4 runs per game) which is currently 14th (out of 16 teams) in the National League in runs scored with only San Francisco and Washington below them. The team is hitting .248/.320/.407 on the season so as you can see, Bradley’s on-base percentage alone is over 80 points higher than the team’s average making him incredibly valuable to a team that doesn’t get many base runners to begin with.
So while everyone is busy worrying about what the umpire said to Bradley, I’m more worried about a team that is hanging on by a thread in the hunt for a playoff spot that just lost one of the biggest catalysts their offense has. To me that’s a whole lot more interesting and could change the playoff picture all together.
UPDATE: Word has come down here that Bradley has torn his ACL and will miss the remainder of this season and part of next. This is a HORRIBLE turn of events for the Padres and will make the fight for the playoffs that much more difficult. It’s too bad something this ridiculous had to happen this late in the season.