June 21, 2024

Following a rainout on Thursday, the Atlanta Braves kicked off their new season on Friday afternoon against the Philadelphia Phillies. The highly anticipated pitching matchup between Zack Wheeler and Spencer Strider lived up to expectations, but the Braves broke the game open with seven runs against Philadelphia’s bullpen in the eighth inning, ultimately winning 9-3 (as per the box score).

However, the victory was overshadowed by concerning news for Atlanta. All-Star catcher Sean Murphy had to leave the game after an awkward swing in the seventh inning, and manager Brian Snitker confirmed that Murphy will be placed on the injured list due to a left oblique strain, as reported by The Athletic. Chadwick Tromp will be brought back to the roster to fill Murphy’s spot.

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Murphy’s injury occurred visibly after he took the swing, immediately clutching his side in discomfort.

The severity and duration of Murphy’s injury remain uncertain until further testing is conducted. Oblique injuries can be delicate and may require weeks to heal. With a scheduled 4:05 p.m. ET game against the Phillies on Saturday, the Braves had to swiftly decide on placing Murphy on the injured list to ensure they can bring in a replacement catcher in time for the upcoming game.

Murphy, who is 29 years old, became a part of the Braves in December 2022 as part of a three-team, nine-player trade involving the Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers. Despite an uneven performance last season, including an All-Star appearance, Murphy’s first half was notably strong with 17 home runs and a .999 OPS, followed by a slump in the second half with only four home runs and a .585 OPS.

Fortunately, the Braves have a capable replacement in Travis d’Arnaud, who is now 35 years old. D’Arnaud, with a .256/.315/.446 batting line over four seasons with the Braves, is a reliable option to step in behind the plate during Murphy’s absence, although he may not match Murphy’s defensive prowess.

Friday’s victory marked Atlanta’s second consecutive Opening Day win. Before the 2023 season, the Braves had endured a streak of four consecutive Opening Day losses and had lost eight of their last 11 Opening Day games. Despite these past struggles, the Braves had a remarkable 2023 season, winning 104 games and clinching their sixth consecutive NL East title. However, their postseason run was cut short as they were eliminated by the Phillies in the NLDS for the second consecutive year.

Sean Murphy - MLB Catcher - News, Stats, Bio and more - The Athletic -  muzejvojvodine.org.rs

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