The Angels completed one step of a difficult task -- coming back from a 3-1 series deficit -- by winning Game 5 Thursday night. And they enter Game 6 with confidence in their starting pitcher, left-hander Joe Saunders.
While Yankees megastars Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez excelled against Saunders during the regular season, going a combined 9-for-14, including two A-Rod homers, the duo managed just one hit over six combined at-bats in Game 2.
Granted, that hit was a Jeter homer, but Saunders gave up only two runs with one walk and five Ks over seven frames overall to keep the Halos close in an eventual 4-3, 13-inning loss.
Despite Saunders' Game 2 success, the Yankees are confident they can break through against the Halos southpaw in Game 6.
Though Andy Pettitte went 0-2 with a 7.88 ERA in three regular-season outings against the Angels, the Yanks' Game 6 starter settled down nicely in Game 3 of the series.
In 6 1/3 innings, Pettitte gave up three runs on seven hits. Two of those hits were homers -- a Howard Kendrick solo shot in the fifth and a Vladimir Guerrero two-run blast in the eighth -- but the crafty veteran avoided the big inning.
Like Saunders, Pettitte must keep an eye on a couple of key hitters, as Erick Aybar and Bobby Abreu combined to go 9-for-18 against him during the regular season. While the pair went 2-for-4 against him in Game 3, the damage was minimal, as both hits were singles.
The following chart shows how the experts at MLB.com and MLB Network see Game 6 of the ALCS unfolding.
ALCS Game 6 Predictions
|MLBN||LAA||7||13||1||Yanks advance to World Series on Damon's walk-off shot.|
|MLBN||LAA||3||10||0||Big Tex's big night powers Yanks into Fall Classic.|
|MLB.com||LAA||4||8||1||Jeter delivers game-winning RBI single off Fuentes. |
|MLBN||LAA||7||14||0||Halos push series to limit behind Figgins' four hits.|
|MLB.com||LAA||5||9||1||Surging Halos force Game 7.|
|MLBN||LAA||3||9||0||Red-hot A-Rod leads Bombers to World Series.|
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.