The Yankees will be trying to lock up the ALCS to go to their first World Series since 2003. Getting to the Series would be a huge lift for Yankee fans who have suffered through numerous first round collapses, but the reality is if they make it on to face the Phillies fans will on want a championship and nothing less.
But we get ahead of ourselves as the Yankees must still win one more game and being that that game is on the West Coast it may be a difficult challenge to bounce the Angels from the playoffs in their own house. The match up will be John Lackey vs. A.J. Burnett.
Lackey was better than his line indicated in Game 1. Shotty defense did him in early on and a masterful performance by CC Sabathia kept the Angels from making up for any of their fielding gaffes with their bats. Like any of the Angels pitchers, the Yankees can get to Lackey, but with their season on the line it isn't hard to envision Lackey producing a solid performance to prevent the Yankees from turning the game into a massacre like last night's NLCS finale.
The Yankees will counter with A.J. Burnett. Burnett hasn't been spectacular in the playoffs like Sabathia, but he has been good. In fact he was unhittable for five of the 6.1 he pitched. But like the typical Burnett he lost it for one inning and it cost him. And that will really be what this game is about. Burnett could easily put this series away for the Yankees or we could be watching them fly back to New York for Game 6.
The pitching match up is solid for Game 5 and the Angels are not the kind of team that rolls over and dies. It should be an entertaining game and if not, I'm sure the umpires still have a few tricks up their sleeves.