Chris Sale benefits from the extra rest

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Chris Sale’s velocity was down, he had a couple of bad starts and there was talk of the dreaded “dead arm.” But after some extra time off, Sale came roaring back last night. From CSNChicago.com:

After hovering around 90 mph July 27 in Texas, concerns about Sale’s drop in velocity evaporated as the 23-year-old was consistently hurtling his fastball in the 93-95 mph range Monday.

And of course he was effective, allowing two runs on eight hits in eight innings and not walking anyone.

That’s good news for a guy who you sorta have to worry about at this point of the season. After all, he only threw 71 innings as a reliever last season, and already he’s up to 132. The White Sox need him to be effective down the stretch. Here’s hoping the one extended break is enough.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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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.