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World Series Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, November 4th (All times eastern)

Philadelphia Phillies (9-5) at New York Yankees (10-4), 7:57 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia - Pedro Martinez (0-1, 2.08) New York - Andy Pettitte (3-0, 3.24)

(Sports Network) - The New York Yankees turn to Andy Pettitte on short rest this evening, as they try once again to lock down their 27th World Series title when they play Game 6 against the Philadelphia Phillies at Yankee Stadium.

This is the first time the World Series has reached a sixth game since 2003 when the world was introduced to Josh Beckett, who tossed a five-hit shutout to eliminate the Yankees and clinch a World Series title for the Florida Marlins.

The Yankees are hopeful that Pettitte has a better outcome this time than he did six years ago when he toed the rubber against a 23-year-old Beckett. This time, he will be squaring off against 38-year-old Pedro Martinez in what very well could be the final start of both of their careers.

"For us both to still be pitching and then to be able to be pitching in the World Series, I'm sure he feels the same way I do," said Pettitte. "I just feel very blessed, very fortunate to be able to have this opportunity."

Surprisingly, these two have never met in a playoff game, and have not faced off anywhere since 2003.

"Two old goats out there doing the best they can and having fun with it," Martinez said.

Pettitte, the third straight Yankee starter to go on three days' rest, hasn't pitched on short rest since when he was with the Houston Astros in 2006, and has not pitched well in these situations overall. In 14 career starts on short rest, he has posted a 4-6 mark to go along with a 4.15 earned run average.

"Physically, for me it obviously is a little concern, just seeing how my body is going to feel on that short rest," Pettitte said. "But again, you prepare for this. I've been resting the last few days, and I feel like I've had the time off that I need, and mentally I'll be able to get in the place I need to. I mean, I'm hoping for that."

In five career postseason starts on three days' rest, Pettitte is 3-1 with a 2.80 ERA. In fact, two of the best outings of his career have come on short rest: Game 5 of the 1996 World Series, when he tossed 8 1/3 scoreless innings to outduel Atlanta's John Smoltz, and Game 2 of the 2003 World Series, when he allowed just an unearned run in 8 2/3 frames to defeat Florida.

Of course, Pettitte is not 24 years old like he was back in Atlanta 13 years ago. But he is still the winningest pitcher in postseason history. In fact, no pitcher has won more clinching games than the six he has under his belt.

Pettitte, who was on the hill in the Yanks' pennant-clinching victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ALCS, picked up his major league record 17th playoff win in Game 3 of this series on Saturday, as he allowed four runs and five hits in six innings to improve to 3-0 this postseason to go along with a 3.24 ERA. He also helped his cause at the plate with an RBI single.

"What an opportunity," Pettitte said. "That's really the only way you can look at it. To be able to hopefully pitch the game that will bring a 27th world championship to this organization and this city, it's what we set out to do. I just feel very fortunate to have this opportunity, be on this team with a great group of guys, and hope I can throw a great game for us tomorrow to give us a chance to be able to win another championship."

Philadelphia, meanwhile, will rely on Martinez, who, of course, is no stranger to the big stage in the Bronx.

"For everybody that grows up in the Dominican and didn't have a rich life, it's a survival," Martinez said. "That's what we call it in the Dominican -- survival. And in baseball, I am a survivor. I'm someone who wasn't meant to be, and here I am on one big stage. I really thank God for the blessings of being here, because I was supposed to just survive and that's it. Here we are, guys! I have a lot of you paying attention to me right now. That's a great joy."

The veteran right-hander had been 8-4 in the old Yankee stadium and pitched perhaps his best game there back in 1999, when he allowed one hit and struck out 17 in a complete game win. In his first start in the new park, he gave up three runs and six hits in six innings and kept a potent New York lineup off- balance all night, despite taking the loss in Game 2.

Martinez is just 1-3 in seven postseason appearances against the Yankees and 0-3 in his past six outings against them. Overall in the playoffs, Martinez is 6-3 with a 3.22 ERA in 15 appearances, 13 of them starts.

The Phillies signed Martinez at the All-Star break and the three-time Cy Young winner made nine starts this regular season, posting a record of 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA.

Philadelphia kept the Yankees' champagne on ice on Monday, as Chase Utley clubbed a pair of homers and Cliff Lee pitched into the eighth inning to help the Phillies extend their season with an 8-6 win.

Utley belted a three-run homer in the first inning off A.J. Burnett, then delivered a solo blast off Phil Coke leading off the seventh. His five homers in this set ties ex-Yankee Reggie Jackson for the most hit in one World Series. Jackson accomplished the feat in 1977 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"Obviously it's great company," said Utley. "At some point, not right now, maybe I'll look back on it and see what kind of special moment it is. But right now our goal is to win two more games."

The Phillies, aiming to become the first National League repeat winner since Cincinnati in 1975-76, still have a big task to overcome, as they are trying to become just the sixth team to rally back from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series. Kansas City was the last team to do in 1985, while the Pittsburgh Pirates were the last to accomplish the feat having to win Games 6 and 7 on the road, which they did in 1979 in Baltimore.

Philadelphia nearly wasted an 8-2 lead in Monday's win. Down 8-5 in the ninth, the Yankees put men on first and third against Ryan Madson with no outs, but came away with just one run when Derek Jeter grounded into a double-play. Johnny Damon then battled back from an 0-2 count and singled up the middle, but Mark Teixeira struck out swinging to end the game as Madson barely earned his first career postseason save. Alex Rodriguez, who drove in three runs Monday, was left on deck.

Raul Ibanez knocked in two runs, including a mammoth 420-foot homer off Coke in the seventh.

Lee (2-0), who sparkled with a complete-game win in the series opener, allowed seven hits and five runs over seven-plus frames.

"Basically our backs were against the wall, a do-or-die situation," said Lee. "To go out there and give the team a chance, the offense scored plenty of runs to make things a little easier on me, and that was all good. But for me, I've still got to try to put up zeroes and get deep into the game, and I did that and gave the team a chance. So it was a group effort and we're still fighting."

Burnett (1-1), on short rest, was knocked out of the game with no outs in the third. He allowed four hits and six runs, walked four and had a pair of strikeouts.

These teams have a limited history against one another, but did square off once in the World Series back in 1950, when the Yankees swept the series in four games from the Whiz Kids of Philadelphia.

The Phillies also took two of three from the Yanks earlier this season at Yankee Stadium. Philadelphia won the opener before New York rallied off of closer Brad Lidge in the second contest. The Yankees got to Lidge again in the finale, but Philly managed to pick up an extra-inning win in that one to capture the series.

11/04 10:36:37 ET


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