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Time for Yankees to seal the deal

Yankees It's Game Five of the ALCS tonight in Anaheim and the Yankees need one win to wrap up their I-95 World Series matchup with the Phillies. Better they do it tonight than prolong things to Saturday night back in the Bronx. As Mike Vaccaro's column in today's New York Post points out, the Yankees were a combined 9-0 in 1996, 1998 and 1999 in games where they had a chance to clinch a series en route to winning the World Series (they were 2-1 in 2000).

They need to finish this series now. A big reason? Everyone will spend the next two days revisiting 2004 if the Angels win tonight.

I was there for every pitch in '04 when the Yankees blew their 3-0 lead to the Red Sox and the shift in momentum was ever-so-slight when the Sox won the Dave Roberts game to get within 3-1. But when they pulled out their 14-inning thriller in Game Five, the shift was palpable. By the time we all got off the train back to New York, you felt you were on a runaway. You could feel the Sox gaining control. The Bloody Sock game then gave you that feeling of destiny in your midst.

Three hours before Game Seven, I was on the field leaning up against the railing in front of the Yankees dugout. A few feet away, venerable Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan was screaming into a microphone doing a live hit for some ESPN show. He was saying there was no way the Sox could come this far and get Aaron Booned again. The Sox were loose, chatting and joking on the field. No Yankee cracked a smile. Few said anything. Game Seven was already over before either of Johnny Damon's home runs.

The point is clear. The Angels are reeling. Keep them down. If Girardi, A-Rod & Co. truly want this 103-win version of the Yankees to be different from the past four years, they have to take advantage of opportunity in October. They've been mostly brilliant so far in going 6-1.  They need to take care of business tonight so they don't face an uncomfortable weekend.

---Mike Harrington



ALCS | Major leagues | Yankees
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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |