The New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies avoided elimination by winning Game 5, as both teams trailed 3-1 in their respective series.
The New York Yankees down travel down south to play the Texas Rangers in Game 6 of ALCS Friday night. If the Yankees can stay alive, Game 7 will take place on Saturday night.
The San Francisco Giants must head back east to play the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park in Game 6 of the NLCS. The game will either be played on Saturday afternoon or night, depending on the outcome of Game 6 of the ALCS.
In order for there to be a rematch of the 2009 World Series, New York and Philadelphia must win three games in a row (two now). Both teams have a pretty good shot to force a Game 7, but the Phillies have a better chance of advancing to the 2010 World Series.
Here are five reasons why the Philadelphia Phillies are more likely than the New York Yankees to comeback and advance to the World Series.
This is clearly the most obvious reason. The Philadelphia Phillies would play Games 6 and 7 at home while the New York Yankees must win two in a row in Texas.
Philadelphia fans will be a rowdy bunch in Game 6 of the NLCS, especially after some of the actions of Giants players, namely Pat Burrell and Tim Lincecum.
In the ALCS, Texas Rangers fans are hoping that the home team will advance to their first-ever World Series appearance. However, as we saw in the ALDS, it is very possible that the pressure of winning a series at home may affect the Rangers.
Such a pressure should not exist with the Phillies, since they currently have their backs against the wall.
It is questionable how much of a home-field advantage Philadelphia and Texas have though, since both teams lost one of the first two games in their respective LCS.
When comparing each team's chances of completing the comebacks, it is clear that the Phillies playing at home gives them an advantage.
In Game 5 of the ALCS, the New York Yankees were supposed to win with their ace, C.C. Sabathia on the mound.
In Game 5 of the NLCS, some would say that the San Francisco Giants were supposed to win, since Tim Lincecum was pitching at home. Although Roy Halladay was pitching, the Giants defeated him in Game 1 in Philadelphia and it is almost impossible to defeat Lincecum in San Francisco.
The Texas Rangers took two games out of three in New York, so one could not say that the Yankees have that much momentum. On the other hand, the Giants had to clinch at home and they failed.
Now, San Francisco players are probably nervous after losing a very winnable Game 5 at home. The pressure may now be on the Giants to not lose three games in a row.
The Phillies now want to prove that they are still the best team in the National League, as their experience should help them overcome the deficit.
In order for the New York Yankees to gain the same amount of momentum, they must win Game 6 and put all of the pressure on the Texas Rangers.
In both the ALCS and NLCS, the pitching matchups in Game 6 are a repeat of the ones featured in Game 2.
The New York Yankees will have Phil Hughes going up against Texas Rangers' pitcher Colby Lewis. Here is how both pitchers performed in Game 2 of the ALCS:
Hughes: 4 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO, 88 pitches
Lewis: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO, 102 pitches
Both pitchers did not have great performances, but Hughes was awful. As a young player, it will be interesting to see if he can redeem himself on the road.
The San Francisco Giants will have the lefty Jonathan Sanchez on the mound, pitching against Roy Oswalt and the Philadelphia Phillies. Oswalt picked up the win in Game 2 of the NLCS:
Sanchez: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO, 100 pitches
Oswalt: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 SO, 111 pitches
Sanchez pitched pretty well in Game 2, but Roy Oswalt played even better. However, it will be interesting to see if Oswalt's appearance in Game 4 will affect how hit pitches on Saturday.
However, the Philadelphia Phillies definitely have a more favorable pitching matchup.
Cliff Lee has dominated the New York Yankees the last two years and if there is a Game 7 of the ALCS, he probably will do it again. Game 7 would feature a rematch of Game 3, as Andy Pettitte and Cliff Lee will be on the mound.
Pettitte: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO, 110 pitches
Lee: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 SO, 122 pitches
Both Pettitte and Lee pitched extremely well in Game 3. No one should underestimate Andy Pettitte, as he will be pitching in his home state.
However, Cliff Lee is Cliff Lee. It is hard to imagine that he will have a bad game.
Once again, Game 7 of the NLCS will be feature a rematch of Game 3. Matt Cain shutout the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 3 of the NLCS, but Cole Hamels certainly did not have a bad game.
Hamels: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO, 101 pitches
Cain: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO, 119 pitches
The Philadelphia Phillies did not take advantage of opportunities early in Game 3. Cain historically has a bad record against Philadelphia, so it is likely that Game 3 was a rarity.
Before Game 3, Matt Cain was 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in five appearances against Philadelphia. Chase Utley should have a much better game, especially at home, as he is 7-for-18 against Cain with a double and three home runs.
The pitching matchups for the Yankees and Phillies are pretty even. However, Cliff Lee will not be pitching against Philadelphia.
The pitching, mostly the bullpen, has been the New York Yankees weakness in the ALCS. The Philadelphia Phillies have struggled because of their offense and it is bound to wake up.
In the first five games of the ALCS, the New York Yankees have allowed a total of 32 runs. While the Philadelphia Phillies have only allowed half that amount, 16 runs.
Both the Yankees and Phillies have only scored 18 runs in their respective series, which is an average of 3.6 runs a game.
During the regular season, Philadelphia averaged 4.77 runs a game while New York averaged 5.30 runs. However, even if the Yankees get back to their average, it may not be enough to win due to the way the team is pitching.
On the other hand, if the Phillies offense can get a little hot and score their average amount of runs, they should easily win by at least two runs.
It may look pretty even, but if the Phillies start to hit the ball well, they should be able to comeback and win the NLCS. The fact is that Philadelphia pitching has been great and the Phillies should only have to score five runs in order to win.
In a smaller Citizens Bank Park, it is more likely the Phillies offense will get hot, compared to the Yankees playing in Texas.
The New York Yankees pitching will determine whether or not they win the next two games. On the opposite end, the Philadelphia Phillies offense will decide if they advance to the 2010 World Series.
I will take the Phillies offense against the Giants pitching over the Yankees pitching against the Texas lineup any day.