Nationals left fielder Kyle Schwarber left Friday night’s game after suffering an apparent right leg injury. Schwarber singled in the second inning but stepped awkwardly while rounding first base, leaving Schwarber favoring his leg (particularly the upper portion, making a hamstring injury a possibility). Gerardo Parra replaced Schwarber as a pinch-runner and in left field.
It certainly seems as if the injured list will be required for Schwarber, which would cut short one of the most remarkable power binges in baseball history. Schwarber has cracked 16 home runs over his last 20 games prior to Friday night’s contest, with a .333/.407/.987 slash line in that 86-plate appearance stretch. This exceptional hot streak resulted in NL Player of the Month honors for Schwarber in the month of June, and helped fuel a resurgence for the Nats in the NL East standings, as Washington has won 14 of its last 17 games.
Losing Schwarber would represent another huge blow for the Nationals lineup, especially with Trea Turner already day-to-day with a finger injury and several notable pitchers (including Stephen Strasburg, Daniel Hudson and Erick Fedde) already on the IL. While Washington is only two games behind the Mets for the division lead, the team is also only 40-39 and seven games out of a wild-card berth.
It is certainly still possible the Nationals are an extended cold streak away from being sellers, rather than buyers, at the trade deadline — and ironically, a healthy Schwarber would suddenly be a prime trade piece, as his contract is guaranteed only through this season. Schwarber signed a one-year, $10M free-agent deal with the Nats last winter that breaks down as $7M in guaranteed salary and a $3M buyout of an $11.5M mutual option for 2022 (a buyout that Schwarber looks likely to take rather than exercise his end of the mutual option).