Braves' biggest rival loses Bryce Harper and All-Star teammate ahead of Atlanta series

The Braves NL East rival may have just suffered their biggest setbacks of the season.

Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies
Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Not much has gone wrong for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2024. They've been one of the most dominant teams in baseball for much of the season, and their franchise star Bryce Harper has enjoyed an MVP level first half.

However, the Philadelphia Phillies suffered a loss to the Miami Marlins last night in more ways than one. The Phillies sit atop the NL East with a nice lead over the Braves at the moment, but a couple of big injuries from last night could open the window for Atlanta.

Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber both go on the injured list

On the last play of the game against Miami last night, Harper sprinted down the first base line attempting to earn an infield single. Sadly, Harper pulled up at the last moment and clutched at his hamstring.

In the postgame interviews Harper told the media that he has "never felt anything like this before." Those words certainly left Phillies fans in a frenzy, although the news today may have eased their worries.

Harper has been diagnosed with a low-grade hamstring strain and has been placed on the 10-day injured list according to Phillies beat writer Matt Gelb.

Losing an MVP level bat like Harper is about a tough a blow as a team can take. We've seen how the loss of Ronald Acuña Jr. has hurt the Braves, so replacing that production is going to be a tall order for Philadelphia.

Harper was in the midst of a magical season, and just yesterday he earned the starting first baseman spot in the All-Star Game after leading the National League in voting. Harper's Baseball Savant page is littered with red circles. He ranks in the 99th percentile in batting run value, 95th percentile in baserunning value, and 85th percentile in fielding value in his first season as a full-time first baseman. There's nothing on a baseball diamond Harper can't do.

Harper has a ridiculous slash line of .303/.399/.582 and 20 home runs on the season. There's no one on Philadelphia's roster that can replace that level of production. In fact, their best bet may have been a red-hot slugger in Kyle Schwarber.

However, Schwarber suffered an injury of his own against Miami last night as well. Schwarber exited the game with a mild groin strain that has also landed him on the injured list. On the season, Schwarber owns a .250/.373/.447 slash line, 17 homers and 49 RBI.

Time will tell how these injures impact Philadelphia. While they are still a very talented team, and have the pitching to carry them through these injuries, the task is going to be difficult. Perhaps this is where the Atlanta Braves can get things going and make up some ground.

The Phillies benefit from the fact that they can utilize the All-Star break to get these guys rested up and ready for the second half of baseball. But it's still a big loss considering Philadelphia has a key series lined up in Atlanta during fourth of July weekend. However, with the hole the Braves are in right now, Atlanta must focus on playing better baseball themselves before chasing down one of the best teams in baseball.

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