Congratulations HBT readers: you’re officially my minions

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Jeff Pearlman unleashes a new load of incoherence over at SI today, explaining that it’s totally OK to ignore the concept of innocent until proven guilty when it comes to PEDs. Why? Because finding evidence of PED use is hard, man.  At least that’s what I take from it.  And he may be right.  Indeed, I went back and checked all of Pearlman’s baseball columns from the late 90s and early 00s for his expose about PEDs in the game and I couldn’t find any mention of the juice.  Those steroid-users are a wily bunch. They’ve even taken to erasing media archives!

But maybe I’m not being objective here. I might be blinded by … evil!

As NBC Sports’ Calcaterra rightly pointed out in a recent post, “There is just as much evidence against [stars like Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr., Randy Johnson, etc.] as there is against Bagwell.” Again, the problem with the flawed logic of Calcaterra (one of the leaders of the leave-these-poor-guys-alone movement) and his minions is: There is no evidence. Against anyone. Because baseball made certain of it.

At least I think that makes me evil. At any rate I don’t know of any forces for good that have minions.  Oh well, I’ll accept that. Evil is way more fun anyway.

And don’t just sit there looking at me, minions. Go do minion things. Drag a fair maiden back to my lair or something. And for god’s sake, learn to shoot straight. I won’t be done dirty like Darth Vader was. If one Stormtrooper had half-decent aim that afternoon Luke, Han and Leia escaped the Death Star, he’d still be ruling the galaxy.

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.