World Series Predictions: Game 5
Experts expect ace Lee to send Series back to Bronx
The Yankees enter Game 5 of the Fall Classic Monday night with a chance to take home their 27th World Series championship title, and with all of the momentum in their favor.
But the Phillies have ace left-hander Cliff Lee.
Lee -- a perfect 3-0 with a sparkling 0.54 ERA this postseason -- is the Phils' best hope to keep the Series alive and necessitate a return to Yankee Stadium.
Events of the last three games may make it seem like ages ago, but Lee stifled the Yankees in Game 1, pitching a complete-game six-hitter with 10 strikeouts while leading the Phillies to a 6-1 victory. The ever-calm Lee didn't give up a run until the ninth and seemed to barely break a sweat.
Any prediction of a Phillies victory may have to hinge on the expectation that Lee will dominate. That's because the magic of closer Brad Lidge -- which was nonexistent during the regular season but had been quite present throughout most of the postseason -- disappeared again in the ninth inning of Sunday night's 7-4 loss in Game 4. That's bad news for Philly, especially with the Yanks' Mariano Rivera being his usual dependable self.
The Yankees appear to be in good shape on the mound with A.J. Burnett pitching on short rest. CC Sabathia provided the blueprint for pitching following a
less-than-normal break in Game 4, when he held the Phils to three runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. Although Chase Utley's home run chased Sabathia in the seventh, the big southpaw left the game in position to earn the win.
Burnett was strong in his previous Series start, giving up just one run and four hits in seven innings of a 3-1 victory in Game 2. The veteran righty fanned nine against two walks.
Of course, there are other burning questions heading into Game 5, which will be televised live on FOX beginning at 7:57 p.m. ET. After hitting Alex Rodriguez three times in the last two games only to see the slugger's bat come alive, will the Phillies pick another strategy? Will the Bronx Bombers' Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada continue to produce at key times? Will Phillies slugger Ryan Howard put balls in play after striking out 10 times in the first four games?
Only time will tell. In the meantime, the following chart displays how experts from MLB.com and MLB Network see Game 5 of the World Series unfolding:
World Series Game 5 Predictions
|Hal Bodley, MLB.com||Lee sends Series back to New York.|
|Barry Larkin, MLBN||Phils offense explodes vs. Burnett.|
|Al Leiter, MLBN||Phils, Lee get best of Yanks, Burmett.|
|Harold Reynolds, MLBN||Burnett struggles.|
|Cory Schwartz, MLB.com||Hard to think Burnett can do it again; not hard to think Lee can.|
|Mike Siano, MLB.com||Lee outduels Burnett with complete-game five-hitter.|
|Mitch Williams, MLBN||Lee dominates.|
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.