Chris Sale runs scoreless streak up to 16 innings

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White Sox lefty Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s start against the Angels having tossed a complete game two-hitter versus the Rays last Friday. He was nearly as dominant, holding the Halos to an unearned run on two hits while walking none and striking out three in seven innings. He’s put up 16 consecutive scoreless innings now, leaving him with a minuscule 1.80 ERA.

One wonders if this might be the year Sale finally wins a Cy Young Award. The 27-year-old has been a top-five finisher in each of the past three seasons, including a third-place finish in 2014. This past season, despite posting elite strikeout and walk rates, Sale compiled an uncharacteristically high — for him — 3.41 ERA.

Funnily enough, Sale doesn’t even have the best numbers on his own pitching staff right now. Mat Latos, who signed with the White Sox on a one-year, $3 million deal in February, has a 0.49 ERA over his first three starts. Though unlike Sale, Latos doesn’t have the strikeout and walk rates — the best predictors of future performance — to back it up.

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.