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ALCS, Game 6 preview: Los Angeles Angels have momentum, but is that enough to beat New York Yankees twice?

The Yankees’ Joba Chamberlain, left, and Andy Pettitte, tonight’s scheduled starting pitcher, walk along the warning track during a workout Friday. The Yankees went a majors-best 57-24 at home in the regular season and need to win just once to oust the Angels.

Associated Press

The Yankees’ Joba Chamberlain, left, and Andy Pettitte, tonight’s scheduled starting pitcher, walk along the warning track during a workout Friday. The Yankees went a majors-best 57-24 at home in the regular season and need to win just once to oust the Angels.

NEW YORK — The weather is supposed to be miserable, a forecast of rain, cold and wind that hardly makes for a night you want to go out and play.

And the Yankees certainly wish they didn't have to.

But their loss in Game 5 on Thursday in Anaheim brought the American League Champion­ship Series back to New York this weekend. And though they trail the best-of-seven affair 3-2, there's a sense the Angels might have them just where they want them.

For one, they got back to playing their type of game: fundamentally sound, aggressive and fearless.

"I think (Thursday), we were in that mode," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Friday morning. "And hopefully moving through this weekend in New York, we're going to be able to do that because we're certainly capable of meeting this challenge."

For another, they're more confident about how they're playing.

"They are the favorites," Angels Game 6 starter Joe Saunders said. "But after (Game 5), we've got, obviously, a lot of confidence, a lot of momentum."

While the Angels stayed home after Thursday's game and spent Friday traveling, the Yankees flew overnight (arriving just before 7 a.m.) and held a late-afternoon optional workout, trying their best to quell the fears of their nervous fans remembering the 2004 classic collapse in which they blew a 3-0 lead to the Red Sox.

"I feel good about our team," manager Joe Girardi said. "We're up three games to two. We're in our home ballpark, where we've played very well. I'm sure the Angels feel good about their chances after the last game. But you win 103 games during the regular season and have a great homefield record (a major-league best 57-24), you're going to feel great when you come home."

Besides, Yankees captain Derek Jeter pointed out, why all the fuss? This was supposed to be a close series anyway.

"I really don't think anyone would be surprised if we went into this series and you said we'd be playing Game 6 and it was 3-2 either way, to be quite honest with you," Jeter said.

"Anaheim has a great team. Coming into this series, (the talk) was how they've dominated us over the years and how they're going to be a big problem for us. Then we're up 3-1 and we lose one game, and people say 'We wasted an opportunity,' and 'What's wrong with the Yankees?' It's a long series.

"Last I checked, I think we're in pretty good shape."

The Angels, naturally, are hoping there will be some carryover from the tense 7-6 win. Specifically, Scioscia said, the way they took the early lead and took charge.

"There's momentum you can carry. There's confidence you can carry as you win some good games against good teams, and we're going to definitely have to carry that into Game 6," he said. "You still have a challenge in front of you.

"It's not just momentum that's going to carry you through. We have to continue to play well and do a lot of the things in Game 6 as we did in Game 5."

And the Yankees, naturally, claim they don't have to worry about the Angels taking control.

"I don't think so," Jeter said. "They won the first game in Anaheim, right? And we came right back and won the next game, so I don't really think so. Every game is different. You can say we've got momentum because we scored six runs in the seventh or we had a good last inning. However you want to write the story, I guess."

The ending — weather permitting — will be known soon enough.

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com

ALCS, Game 6 preview: Los Angeles Angels have momentum, but is that enough to beat New York Yankees twice? 10/23/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 23, 2009 10:29pm]
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