We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: White Sox starter Chris Sale needs his own video game.
The lanky left-hander threw eight innings of shutout ball on Saturday afternoon against the Astros, striking out seven and walking none as the Pale Hose rolled to a 10-1 victory. He now has a 0.92 WHIP, 76/18 K/BB ratio and an American League-best 2.05 ERA through 74 2/3 frames this season.
Adam Dunn hit a grand slam in the blowout win and Gordon Beckham contributed three runs batted in.
Sale has surrendered just three earned runs, fanned 36 batters and issued only six free passes in his last 31 1/3 innings of work. It’s crazy to think the White Sox had him in the bullpen at one point, and his success as a starter should be a message for the Reds and their own lanky southpaw (Aroldis Chapman).
For postgame reaction, including videos, check out WhiteSoxTalk at CSNChicago.com.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.