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World Series Preview Game 6: Do or Die for the Phillies vs.Yankees

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The last time the Phillies were in Game 6 of the World Series, Joe Carter's three-run homer sent the Phillies home. As far as the Yankees' last World Series Game 6, it was 2003 against the Marlins. Andy Pettitte pitched that game-and lost.

If Pettitte loses tonight's Game 6, the Phillies will have tied the series 3-3, and will go on to the first Game 7 in their long history tomorrow night.

If Pettitte wins, the Phillies go home, and all this nonsense about him pitching on three days rest goes out the window.

It's kind of ironic that the two pitchers the Phillies are counting on to keep this series alive were not even on their roster at the beginning of July. Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez have been the Phillies two best postseason pitchers. Martinez, who is the Game 6 starter, is well aware that this may be the last time he ever takes the mound in the major leagues. This alone should give him motivation to try and take down the "Evil Empire" one last time. Pettitte is one of the best postseason pitchers in history. However, he has lost the last two times the Yankees have played in Game 6 of the World Series (Pettitte got shelled in Arizona's 15-1 win over the Yankees in the 2001 Fall Classic), and will be pitching on three days rest for the first time in almost a decade. Pettitte is also 37 years old, so these factors should make for an exciting match up to say the least. Here are the keys to the Phillies tying this series:

As we said in Game 3, get to Pettitte early. But this time, knock him out of the game-

The Phillies had Pettitte on the ropes for the majority of Game 3. Problem was, they couldn't push him over the ledge and out of the game. This fact was not lost upon the Phillies, who plan on finishing the job they couldn't do Saturday night. Even if there is something wrong with Pettitte, Girardi would be run out of town if he decided to start Chad Gaudin in his place. If Pettitte can go six or seven innings and leave the game with the lead, chances are the Phillies are cooked (see Games 3 and 4). Pettitte did tell several of his teammates he had "nothing" after Game 3. The Yankees hope he has "something" for Game 6. If the Phillies get to their bullpen early as they did in Game 5, they can do major damage and blow this game open. They may need 10 runs tonight to seal this thing.

Score enough runs to the point where the ninth inning pitcher is NOT a cause for concern-

Pedro has to go six or seven innings. Period. You can trust Mariano Rivera in the Yankees pen, but pretty much nobody else. That however, is one more pitcher than you can say for the Phillies bull pen right now. Ryan Madson looked downright scary in the ninth inning Monday night- and not in a good way. The Yankees offense smells blood like no other. It is now even more potent with their return to Yankee stadium, thanks to Jorge Posada catching again and the dangerous Hideki Matsui assuming the role of DH. Despite Raul Ibanez's error in Game 5 which eventually led to three Yankee runs, it almost seems as if the Yankees are toying with the Phillies at times. These guys never give up an at-bat and are just ruthless. The fact that Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, A-Roid, and Matsui are all on fire at the same time is very scary. Jimmy Rollins needs to get on base and Ryan Howard needs to wake up if the Phils stand a chance of winning this thing. Chances are Chase Utley will be pitched around, so this makes Howard's importance even more magnified than it already is.

Well, that's all I have. We've gone over these scenarios quite a few times since the series started. The game plan hasn't changed. Unlike last week at Yankee Stadium, the Phillies can't split this time. Their backs are again up against the wall. Who knows? Maybe taking three in a row from the Yankees is what it will take to finally earn the respect of the baseball world. In Philly, nothing ever will come easy. It would be quite fitting, and we'll know soon enough.

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