Apologies in advance if this was already covered somewhere else and I missed it, but how severe is Brett Gardner's sore ankle? And how long has it been a problem? He sat out a second straight game because of it last night and told reporters he was confident he would be back in the lineup tonight, but looking at the situation from a broader perspective, it seems like this might be more than your garden variety "sore ankle".
On August 4th, Gardner's batting line was up to .286/.364/.468. That .832 OPS was the highest it had been since early April. Since then, Gardner has gone 10-62 in his last 16 games with 4 BB, 11 K, and 1 stolen base. That stolen base came on August 22nd against the White Sox, after which Gardner played the next day and then started his 2-game rest period. His season batting line is back down to .269/.346/.435 and his August line is a paltry .200/.294/.307.
The lack of stolen bases is particularly troubling when considering this sore ankle. The steal on the 22nd was Gardner's 2nd of the month and only his 3rd since mid-July. Even when he was at his hottest last month, he wasn't trying to steal a lot of bases. That's what makes me think this sore ankle may be more serious than Gardner and the team is letting on. He hasn't been taking advantage of his speed on the basepaths for a while, his production has dropped off dramatically this month, and now he's out of the lineup.
I'm hopeful that a few days off does the trick and he gets back to his productive ways. I'm also worried that a watered down, beat up Gardner down the stretch will continue to struggle and possibly end up on the DL.