David Ortiz got punk’d by Dustin Pedroia

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Remember last week when David Ortiz burst into Terry Francona’s media session and went on a profanity-laced tirade over a lost RBI, the result of a changed scoring decision?

Well, apparently no one got a bigger chuckle out of it than little Dustin Pedroia.  Says the CSNNE.com report:

Pedroia told Ortiz that John Henry and Theo Epstein ordered the official scorer to take away Ortiz’s RBI in an effort to keep Ortiz’s stat totals low and therefore give him less leverage when it comes time to negotiate a new contract.

It sure makes Ortiz sound awfully gullible, but he was upset about losing the RBI anyway and this likely just provided the nudge that sent him over the edge.

Fortunately, Ortiz has recovered well.  Last night, he homered and singled in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth in the win over the Twins.  He’s on pace to drive in 105 runs, which would be his high total since he finished with 117 in 2007.

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Update: Lo and behold, Ortiz has been credited with the RBI after all.

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.