As of this writing, the Philadelphia Phillies are +500 second favorites at William Hill Sportsbook to win the NL East Division and are in second place, 3.5 games behind the New York Mets (-225). Remember those Phils odds because they are going to get longer if the team gets really bad news on X-rays of Bryce Harper's foot later today. It seems likely at a minimum that the former NL MVP misses Thursday's home series opener vs. Atlanta. The Phils are +115 underdogs.
Harper fouled a ball off his right foot in Wednesday's loss at the Yankees, and while he didn't come out of the game was in obvious pain. The ball struck him where the top of the foot meets the ankle. Harper has battled nagging injuries to his wrist, back and shoulder this season as well and is batting .287 with 15 homers, 35 RBIs and a.908 OPS.
Of his 15 homers, eight have either tied the game (two) or given Philadelphia the lead (six). Harper had been really hot since June 22, when he entered with a .274 average. In July, he's batting .310 with two homers, 12 RBIs, 10 runs scored and an OPS of .913. Is Harper ever going to live up to his 13-year, $330 million contract? Probably not, but the Phils would be in deep trouble without him for a long stretch.
The Philadelphia bullpen has been an utter disaster this season with a 4.69 ERA and closer Hector Neris was charged with three runs over an inning of work on Wednesday. His ERA is up to 4.93. Not clear if he would be available tonight.
Why is the bullpen number important here? Because it's lefty Matt Moore (0-1, 5.25) on the mound. He has failed to last more than 4.1 innings in his past three outings and allowed exactly two earned in each. Moore has a 7.71 ERA in seven innings this year vs. the Braves.
For Atlanta, it's Charlie Morton (8-3, 3.69), who hasn't personally lost since June 11. He's 1-2 with a 3.09 ERA in three starts this year against the Phillies. Harper surely would love to play considering he's 7-for-14 career off Morton with a homer and six RBIs.
Early betting action shows about a 62 percent moneyline lean on Atlanta – Morton has a 2.83 road ERA and Moore 7.43 at home. The Braves are 1-5 in their past six in Philly.
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