CRUNCH TIME

Both of the LCS defending championship teams [and the past two World Series Champions]– the Philadelphia Phillies [WS 2008] and the New York Yankees [WS 2009] are two victories each away from a rematch, but just one loss each from elimination in their respective LCS matchups against the San Francisco Giants [NL] and the Texas Rangers [AL]. The circumstances, however, are slightly different for Philly than they are for New York.  Philadelphia is at home for Game 6 and the potential Game 7; the Yankees are in Texas until it’s over.  The odds are better for the Phils than for the Yanks and  from here, it looks like the Phils will take those odds, use their playoff pressure experience to tie the series, then win the NLCS and advance to their third straight World Series.

The Yankees have a greater challenge — they have to win two straight on the road. Their Game 6 starting pitcher, Phil Hughes, was slapped around last time he faced the Rangers and is vulnerable again, and if New York forces a Game 7, they will again face Cliff Lee, who has been unbeatable this postseason. But…

Two things that I believe will happen will favor the Yankees [in this die-hard fan’s view that admittedly does not use conventional wisdom or statistics to support his biased and faithful belief in the Bombers]: one, they will hit well in Game 6 and get off to an early lead while Hughes pitches very well this time around; and, two, Game 7 will prove Lee to be only human, while Andy Pettitte — who will start Game 7 for the Yankees — proves once again to be the playoff legend that he is, while also adding to his credentials for his future induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

My picks:

Game 6 — NYY 7, TXR 4 [Hughes the Winner, TXR bullpen the Loser]

Game 7 — NYY 4, TXR 2 [with Pettitte the Winner, Lee the Loser, and Yankee closer Mariano Rivera getting the Save]

Sports is a departure from my usual posts, but it is October and I am a cradle-to-grave Yankees fan who will enjoy the rest of the postseason.

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