How bad is the Astros' offense? Really, really bad.

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With the Astros in the midst of their second six-game losing streak of the young season, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart has some details on just how horrendous Houston’s lineup has been so far.
Some of my favorite tidbits …
* Houston has scored 72 runs in 24 games, which is 13 fewer runs than the second-worst team, 42 fewer than the average team, and 75 fewer than MLB-leading Tampa Bay. In other words, the Rays have literally scored more than twice as many runs as the Astros.
* Not only does their .281 on-base percentage rank dead last in baseball, the Astros are the only team getting on base below a .300 clip.
* They also rank dead last in OPS. In fact, there are 317 active hitters with at least 1,000 career plate appearances and the Astros’ putrid .605 OPS is lower than all of them except for John McDonald (.593) and Juan Castro (.602).
* Houston is also dead last in walks with 42, which is 24 fewer than the second-worst team and just 21 more than Nick Johnson, Chone Figgins, Justin Morneau, David Wright, and Daric Barton have drawn individually. In other words, choose any two of those guys and they’ve draw exactly the same number of walks as the Astros’ entire team.
* Houston has nine homers in 784 at-bats. Paul Konerko has 12 homers in 81 at-bats.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.