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.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.