Wade Davis entered the night with the worst ERA among all starters (min. 90 innings). Slated opposite Chris Sale, who entered the night with the 13th-best ERA in baseball, it looked like a mismatch. Nevertheless, Davis persevered, shutting out the White Sox over seven and one-third innings. He allowed four hits, walked three, and struck out four. Louis Coleman finished off the eighth for the hold, and Greg Holland escaped some ninth-inning trouble for the save, his 26th of the season.
Sale allowed one run over a nine-inning complete game loss, falling to 6-10. The only damage occurred on a Lorenzo Cain RBI double in the sixth. Sale otherwise kept the Royals quiet, surrendering seven hits and one walk while striking out seven. It is the third time this season Sale has allowed one or zero runs and been saddled with the loss. Someone notify Brian Kenny (@MrBrianKenny).
The Royals continue to hang onto the fringe of contention, now 50-51. After the Tigers wrap up a victory over the Phillies tonight, the Royals will be seven games out of first place in the AL Central and six games out of the second Wild Card if the Orioles don’t come back against the Red Sox.
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.