Joakim Soria wants a new nickname

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Joakim Soria is smart for at least two reasons. First: he understands that one cannot choose one’s own nickname.  Second, he understands that being called “Mexicutioner” is a pretty tough thing these days given all of the execution-style killings going down in his native Mexico.  In light of this, he offered a plea this morning:

how about if we change my nickname to something positive? in support to mexico to stop all the violence !!!

I’m not a big fan of sports-as-symbolism — I thought it was tremendously weak when the Washington Bullets changed their name to the Wizards — but I understand how this is different to Soria.  It’s a personal appellation for one thing, not a team name.  It’s also way more on-the-nose with respect to the violence in Mexico than “Bullets” was to violence in D.C. in the mid-90s.  And at least “Bullets” had a different intention (i.e. “faster than a speeding …”).  I totally get his discomfort and I’m on board with him wanting to have it changed.

But what it gets changed to is kind of up to us, isn’t it?  I don’t know that I have any ideas that he’d actually be cool with.  Most that spring to mind have to do with him being the lone elite talent on the Royals, and something tells me that he wouldn’t get on board with that sort of thing.

Ideas in the thread.  Nickname dissemination is an inexact science, but I’ll try to get the best one trending and maybe it will stick.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.