The Astros' Sammy Gervacio sounds awesome

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I had never heard the name Sammy Gervacio until I read this article in the Houston Chronicle this morning, but now I really want to see him pitch:

The
glare, the high leg kick, the delivery from an arm angle somewhere
below three quarters and the high black socks apparently didn’t make
Sammy Gervacio stand out enough on the mound. So he added more . . . The
righthander holds the ball out with his pitching hand, stares at it for
a pronounced second, then translates his stare in an equally
exaggerated manner toward the plate.

Ever since someone gave me some quickie photo-biography of Mark Fidrych when I was a lad I have enjoyed and endorsed any and all weirdness on the mound.  I liked Gene Garber turning around towards second base on his windup. Hideo Nomo’s shtick always made me smile. Submarine pitchers are one of the few things that are pure and good in the universe. I was happy when Paul Byrd started with that 1940s-style double windup thing. I like Pat Neshek’s herky-jerky whatever it is he does.

A pitcher who stares down the ball and the batter had better be good because if he’s not he’s going to get his butt kicked by someone eventually, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves