Even if the Brewers have been getting by OK without him, the foot injury suffered by Corey Hart last Sunday is starting to look more and more troubling. Hart tore tissue in his arch making a turn on the bases during last week’s game against the Cardinals and hasn’t played since. There was hope early in the week that he would be back by now, but Hart – who has struggled with planting and changing direction after the injury – he had little success in a baserunning session this morning, and will probably be out until Tuesday, if not later.
For most of his career, Hart has quietly been putting up very good numbers in the shadows of the sluggers preceding him in the lineup, and this year is no exception. In 137 games, he has hit .278/.340/.514 while proving surprisingly competent at first base, a position he picked up a month into the season after Mat Gamel’s injury left it vacant. Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, and Jonathan Lucroy all have him beat as far as OPS goes, and defensive metrics generally rate him as below-average at first, but that doesn’t mean his contributions haven’t been extremely valuable this season – to the tune of 3.3 WAR, according to Fangraphs.
However, the Brewers haven’t appeared to miss Hart all that much in the past week, going 5-1 and scoring an average of 5.33 runs per game since he’s been out. The Brewers offense as a whole has been fantastic as of late and has picked up a lot of the slack, but credit is also due to Hart’s replacement, Travis Ishikawa. Ishikawa has gotten the bulk of the starts at first this week, and gotten hot at just the right time, hitting .333/.391./571 in 24 September plate appearances.
It’s fantastic that the Brewers have been able to get that kind of production out of Ishikawa and the rest of the lineup, but neither are going to sustain this level of performance forever. If the Brewers are going to continue their current run, it’s almost certainly going to have to be with a healthy and productive Corey Hart. Hopefully, that will be a reality again within the next few days.