* People has all kinds of tidbits
on Alex Rodriguez’s relationship with Kate Hudson, which the magazine
calls “somewhat serious.” Also of note is that “Hudson followed
Rodriguez on the road late last month to Dallas” and the couple “worked
out together in the fitness center” of the team hotel.
If by some miracle Hudson ever makes a decent movie again–seriously, check out her resume since Almost Famous–the
Hollywood media will no doubt start buzzing with talk of
performance-enhancing drugs. Does human growth hormone help you act?
* Joe Mauer was the best player in baseball last month, hitting .414 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs in 28 games, and started June by going 3-for-3 with a homer last night. He’s now one homer shy of tying his career-high.
* Rick Porcello’s five-start winning streak was snapped last night, so Rickmania! will have to wait.
* J.C. Romero has rejoined the Phillies’ bullpen after serving his 50-game suspension.
* Barry Bonds may have stumbled upon a new career.
The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.
Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.
Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.
Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.