Rickie Out For (What Looks Like) Weeks

The following is an obligatory article regarding the injury to Second Baseman Rickie Weeks in last night’s victory over the Chicago Cubs. Leave it to the Cubs to spoil a good thing.

Rickie Weeks rolled his ankle while trying to reach base during the bottom of the second inning. There isn’t much more to tell on this story, except that Rickie is going through a series of tests tomorrow, and Roenicke expects the first-time All-Star to be gone for a long, long time. There’s no official timetable as of right now, but the prognosis is somewhere in the ballpark of “pretty f’ing bad”.

I really want to be really upset about this situation, but there is something holding me back. I do like Rickie – I think he has had a very good season this year and I hope his recovery is speedy. The truth is, however, that I – and probably dozens of other Brewers fans – had this in the back of our mind somewhere. Rickie was going to get injured. It was not a question of if, but when it was going to happen. Betting on Rickie getting injured at any given time is like betting on where the sun will rise: the odds are strongly in your favor. The man plays hard, and he pays a price for it again and again. It was the reason I was skeptical of the huge money contract that Rickie signed back in Spring Training, and the reason I was concerned about our complete lack of depth in the infield.

I know this injury is going to hurt more than just Rickie, but I am hesitant to say just how much it’s going to effect the day-to-day of the club. It’s no secret that the Brewers have been looking for a middle infielder for some time (as an insurance policy against Yuniesky Betancourt), but now it would appear that any efforts being done need to be re-doubled in order to get a second baseman who has some Big League at-bats, or at the very least a photo on file. Expect those rumors you hear about Jamey Carroll to intensify or manifest in the next few days.

In any of these situations, you need to look as honestly as possible at the cards you’ve been dealt. Losing Rickie is a blow, to be sure, but I am not sure as to how much. It was a long shot for Doug Melvin to call him “irreplaceable”. Rickie is good, but he is far from the best second baseman in the league. As much as we love his offensive efficiency, he also is prone to cold spots more often than not. As a lead-off hitter he left a lot to be desired. As a five-hole hitter he was starting to find his groove again, but in the last ten games he was hitting .235 with just two RBI and one home run, a stint that included five no-hit games.  In the last month he was struggling just to get over the Mendoza line. Weeks was a good player, but he was far from the only reason for our success. I believe that in the final stretch of the season the following things will happen: We will pick up a utility guy to help stem the tide, our pitching will continue to keep us close in games, and the rest of the Brew Crew bats will put us over the edge.

We can all hope that when Weeks returns, he will be the same Rickie we have seen in these last two seasons. Until then, a lot of people are going to be very nervous. I just won’t be one of them.

 

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