Jonathan Papelbon is awesome

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Papelbon 2.jpgJonathan Papelbon sat down for an interview with ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes and the subject of his soon-to-arrive son came up.  And I gotta tell ya, I’m really starting to take a shine to Jonathan Papelbon:

Papelbon’s wife, Ashley, is
pregnant with the couple’s second child, a brother for toddler daughter
Parker. The child is due in April.
“Got a name picked out,”
Papelbon says. “Gunner Roberts.” The significance? “Nothing, man. Just a
badass name, so we went with it.’

Jay from Fack Youk, who shot me the link, has a list of rejected Junior Papelbon names.  I’m going to talk to the wife about changing my boy’s name to “Rambo Rocky Calcaterra” as soon as she comes home from work.

In other news, Papelbon had no idea that the Red Sox had signed John Lackey until the team trainer told him the other day. He didn’t know about the Cameron, Beltre or Kotchman deals until he sat down for the interview.  There’s some interesting byplay about young Daniel Bard maybe taking his job someday. From what I can gather, the Sox could probably just tell Papelbon that the eighth inning is the ninth inning and vice-versa and he wouldn’t know the difference, thereby averting any controversy.

Anyway, like the lady said, the world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness.  Or any sort of awareness, really.

Joe Girardi won’t use Masahiro Tanaka in Game 7

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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.