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Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber Placed on Injured List

Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber
Jun 11, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Philadelphia Phillies designated hitter Kyle Schwarber (12) celebrates with Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper (3) after a leadoff solo home run during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber Placed on Injured List

Blowing a 3-0 lead at home to the Miami Marlins would normally qualify as a bad enough day for any team. But Thursday was a rare bad day for the 2024 Philadelphia Phillies. Kyle Schwarber, playing left field for the third time this season, exiting in the ninth inning and Bryce Harper injuring his hamstring making the final out in a 7-4 loss will certainly qualify as such.

The clarification that came Friday afternoon was suboptimal but not season-sinking. Harper and Schwarber will join J.T. Realmuto on the Injured List, which now includes three of Philadelphia’s five highest-paid hitters. Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, the worst-case scenario has been avoided, with neither expected to miss significant time.

The Phillies have built a sizable lead in the National League East, enough so that a few difficult weeks will not sink them. But with the mighty Atlanta Braves always lurking, a stumble could open the door. When Harper went down for two months with a broken thumb two years ago, Schwarber stepped up on and off the field perhaps more than any other Phillie to keep the team afloat. They are both top 15 in the Majors in home runs. Harper is fifth in the sport in OPS.

Like when Harper was lost in 2022, the Phillies will count on everyone else to be slightly better while their stars are sidelined. Nick Castellanos and Bryson Stott are the most obvious candidates for improvement. Castellanos has been hot lately, recording a .811 OPS in his last 15 games. Stott has hit .274 over the last week and his walk rate is much improved from last season. However, he is still struggling to drive the ball. Stott probably makes the most sense to fill the lead-off spot in Schwarber’s absence, which he briefly did in August 2022 when Schwarber dealt with a calf injury.

This has largely felt like a blessed season for the Phillies. Simultaneous absences to three of their best hitters will test that. Lesser things have broken past teams, but they did not display the might of the current club. Sometimes, having midseason adversity is better than a summer full of sunshine. The Phillies’ current state will test that theory.

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