Some stat nuggets from Vincent Velasquez’s amazing start against the Padres

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Phillies starter Vincenet Velasquez recently put the finishing touches on a complete game shutout during which he held the Padres to three hits and no walks while racking up 16 strikeouts on 113 pitches. As expected, the start lent itself to lots of interesting trivia.

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Velasquez is the first Phillie to strike out 16 in a game since Cliff Lee on May 6, 2011 against the Braves. He’s the sixth in Phillies history, joining Lee, Curt Schilling, Steve Carlton, Chris Short, and Art Mahaffey. Schilling is the only one to do so without walking a batter.

Velasquez is the first to strike out at least 16 within his first 25 career games since Kerry Wood, who struck out 16 in his 25th career game on August 26, 1998. Of course, Wood also struck out 20 in his fifth career game on May 6, 1998 against the Astros.

Per ESPN’s Jayson Stark, Nationals ace Max Scherzer is the only other active pitcher with a 16-strikeout, zero-walk complete game. Velasquez and Scherzer are also the only pitchers to record 20-plus swinging strikes on the four-seam fastball in a single game, per MLB.com’s Mike Petriello.

Via WFAN and WIP’s Joe Giglio, Velasquez joins Wood, Roger Clemens, Frank Tanana, Vida Blue, Mark Prior, and Doc Gooden in the list of pitchers to strike out 16 batters with zero walks at the age of 23 or younger.

Velasquez touched 97 MPH in the first inning. His last two pitches in the ninth inning were also 97 MPH, according to MLB.com (the broadcast radar gun showed 96). That’s notable because, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out, the Phillies were the only team in baseball dating back to 2007 without a pitcher (min. 10 starts) to average at least 94 MPH with the fastball. Velasquez averaged 95.5 MPH on Thursday.

And one for the Padres… via Stark, the Padres are the first team to get shut out five times in their first 10 games to begin a season.

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.