New uniform, same disgustingly filthy stuff from Craig Kimbrel.
Deprived of a save situation because the Padres scored too many runs in the ninth inning, Bud Black decided that he’d still give Kimbrel some work last night. All he did was strike out side on 16 pitches, 10 of which were strikes. Here’s one of them.
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He featured a 97 m.p.h. fastball and a curveball that clocked 86 and dropped off the friggin’ table. He could’ve maybe finished the Dodgers off in fewer pitches, but he was sort of getting squeezed. But I suppose at this point he needs a handicap to keep things interesting.
We overstate the value of closers pretty routinely, but it’s not hard to imagine Kimbrel, if deployed effectively by Black, making a fairly significant difference for the Padres this season.
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.