June 13, 2024

The Philadelphia Phillies have been dealing with injuries at the start of the 2024 season, awaiting the return of starting pitcher Taijuan Walker and dynamic relief pitcher Orion Kerkering.

However, there’s been encouraging news regarding both players, with expectations that they will rejoin the Phillies’ roster before the end of April.

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Braves, a rival in the National League East, have encountered a significant concern with one of their key starting pitchers. Braves ace Spencer Strider exited Friday’s home opener after just four innings due to elbow soreness, a development that surprised Braves Manager Brian Snitker.

Spencer Strider to undergo MRI after Braves' ace encounters elbow pain  during Friday's start - CBSSports.com

Strider, who is considered a frontrunner for the NL Cy Young Award, will undergo an MRI on Saturday to assess any potential major issues with his pitching elbow.

During Friday’s outing, Strider’s performance was uncharacteristic, as he allowed five earned runs, walked three, and struck out only four in his shortened start.

Additionally, there was a noticeable decrease in his velocity, with his fastball averaging 94.4 mph, down from his usual average of 96.7 mph.

The potential loss of Strider for an extended period would be advantageous for the Philadelphia Phillies, who are still finding their rhythm. With the Braves’ rotation weakened, they will have to lean heavily on Max Fried, Chris Sale, and Charlie Morton to carry the pitching load while Strider is sidelined.

Sale, now in the No. 2 spot in the rotation, faces scrutiny over his durability, given his history of injuries since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2020, which has limited him to just 32 starts since the 2021 season.

The NL East division has been hit by injuries to starting pitchers across several teams. While there’s optimism about Taijuan Walker’s recovery for the Phillies, their rotation depth has been tested early in the season.

However, the Phillies’ situation is relatively mild compared to the significant setbacks faced by their division rival, the Miami Marlins.

The Marlins, who were a Wild Card contender last season, have been heavily impacted by injuries to key starting pitchers. Sandy Alcantara, the 2022 Cy Young Award winner, underwent Tommy John surgery for a UCL tear at the end of last season, likely sidelining him until the 2025 season. Additionally, spring training shoulder injuries to Braxton Garrett and Edward Cabrera further depleted the Marlins’ rotation depth ahead of Opening Day.

Unfortunately for the Marlins, their woes deepened with the news that their highly touted 20-year-old pitching prospect, Eury Pérez, will undergo Tommy John surgery due to issues discovered during spring training, revealing ligament damage in his pitching elbow.

As the baseball community awaits the outcome of Strider’s MRI, the Phillies have an opportunity to capitalize on the pitching woes plaguing their division rivals and mount a serious challenge for the division title in 2024.

While the Braves remain a formidable opponent, the Marlins, Washington Nationals, and New York Mets appear poised to struggle as playoff contenders this season.

Taijuan Walker: News, Stats, Bio, & More - NBC Sports - NBC Sports

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *