“Why don’t you think there are more major leaguers with red hair?”

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Earlier today, just before taping HBT Daily, Kay Adams and I were talking about redheads. You’ll have to ask her why the subject came up in the first place but know that it involved a bet, a wig and a lot of come-ons. I’m awfully glad I’m a dude.

Anyway, we discussed that thing about how, biologically speaking, redheads are selected against. Which was a hoax, by the way, but it’s the sort of thing that rattles around in one’s brain after one hears it. I mean, the thing about gingers having no soul is scientifically proven, so I sort of assumed the thing about them being selected against was too.

Anyway, maybe there is one place they really are selected against: the baseball diamond. At least that’s what Astros GM Jeff Luhnow wondered aloud to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, who investigated the matter.

Crasnick’s conclusions: there aren’t a lot of redheads in the world to begin with so there aren’t likely to be as many readheaded ballplayers. That said, there are a lot of notable redheaded ballplayers, and Crasnick names a great many of them. And either way, there are still some weird old scouts in baseball and in football who have a prejudice against redheads because, man, I have no idea but that’s pretty dumb.

At least we can all agree on the no-souls thing, yes?

A.J. Hinch: “We’ll use every pitcher in Game 7 if we have to”

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It’s not entirely clear why the Astros threw Ken Giles into the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS. With a six-run advantage and the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineup due up, pushing the series to its seven-game capacity looked like a sure bet. Giles may be one of Houston’s better bullpen arms, but he’s not their only option, and it would have made more sense to keep him fresh for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday night.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to postseason baseball. That’s more or less what Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had to say after the game, telling reporters that he had envisioned a quick three outs from his closer as they tried to pull back from the brink of elimination. “We didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings.”

It’s not difficult to recall the Yankees’ explosive drive in the eighth inning of Game 4, when they exploited the holes in Houston’s ‘pen and evened the series with Gary Sanchez‘s go-ahead double off of Giles. Back home in Minute Maid Park, however, there was a slightly different feel to the eighth and ninth innings of Game 6. Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a solo home run, followed by Alex Bregman‘s two-run double and Evan Gattis‘ sac fly. In the ninth, Giles labored through a 23-pitch outing to lock down the win, handing out a base hit and a seven-pitch walk before eventually whiffing Chase Headley on three straight pitches for the last out.

So, while Hinch’s decision to lean on Giles in Game 6 may have felt wasteful, his concerns were not entirely unfounded. He’s prepared to roll with the same strategy during Saturday’s series finale, too, leaving nothing on the table as the Astros battle for their first World Series showdown since 2005. According to Dallas Keuchel, that means all hands on deck — except for Justin Verlander, whose four wins, 24 strikeouts and 1.46 postseason ERA have gotten the Astros as far as he could possibly be expected to take them. “No pitcher is going to be in the dugout,” said Keuchel. “They’re all going to be in the bullpen, myself included. Any way we can help out, we’re trying to get to the World Series, the same way the Yankees are, and that’s a nice feeling to have.”

Does that mean Giles will be available for a Game 7 appearance? Stranger things have happened. Joe Sheehan notes that the right-hander has pitched in back-to-back days 13 times this year, though he’s never thrown as many as 23 pitches on Day 1. Granted, he likely doesn’t have enough left in the tank for another 20+ pitch run on Saturday, but with the World Series on the line, any help he can offer will be invaluable.