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Game 6 is rained out, postponed until Sunday

Scheduled starters will stay the same: Joe Saunders vs. Andy Pettitte.

October 25, 2009|MIKE DIGIOVANNA

NEW YORK — That's New York Yankees 3, Angels 2, Mother Nature 1, if you're scoring at home.

Game 6 of the American League Championship Series was postponed because of heavy rain in Yankee Stadium a full two hours before the scheduled first pitch Saturday night.

The game was pushed back to tonight and should be played under far more hospitable conditions. Today's forecast for New York calls for sunny skies all day, a 10% chance of precipitation and a temperature of about 55 degrees at game time.

"You definitely want the game decided by the players in good conditions," Angels ace John Lackey said. "You don't want anything fluky to decide a series this big, that's for sure."

Both managers, Mike Scioscia and Joe Girardi, will stick with their original Game 6 starters tonight, Angels left-hander Joe Saunders and New York left-hander Andy Pettitte.

With the Yankees leading the best-of-seven series, 3-2, Girardi had the option of starting ace CC Sabathia, who was dominant while winning Games 1 and 4 of the ALCS and is 3-0 with a 1.19 earned-run average in three playoff starts, tonight on regular rest.

But Girardi opted to stick with Pettitte and save Sabathia for a potential Game 7, which would be played Monday night.

"I never thought they would skip me," said Pettitte, a 15-year veteran who pitched on the Yankees' World Series winning teams in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. "I would hope they have a lot of confidence in me."

Saturday night's rainout also gives the Angels the option of starting Lackey for Game 7 on three days' rest, but Scioscia said Lackey would be available out of the bullpen tonight and refused to speculate about a Game 7 starter.

"It's going to give us more options to look at, absolutely," Scioscia said. "John is still in play [tonight]. We'll get through Game 6. There's no sense talking about Game 7."

Jered Weaver, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning out of the bullpen in Game 5 Thursday night, would be the other Game 7 option, but Scioscia might need the right-hander in relief tonight.

Neither team got onto the field for pregame workouts Saturday, but position players from both teams took batting practice in the indoor cages.

If you're a believer of momentum in baseball, the delay probably won't help the Angels, who scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and held on for a dramatic 7-6 win in Game 5 in Anaheim on Thursday night.

"You always want to play -- you don't want to lose your rhythm," Angels center fielder Torii Hunter said. "We knew there was a chance the game would get rained out. We hate it. The Yankees hate it. You want to keep playing.

"But the weather is supposed to be good [today], so both teams are looking forward to that."

Two struggling players, one from each team, remained in their usual lineup spots Saturday, Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher and Angels third baseman and leadoff hitter Chone Figgins.

The switch-hitting Swisher is batting .103 (three for 29) with one extra-base hit in eight playoff games and popped out to shortstop with the bases loaded to end Game 5.

There was no question Figgins would start, but Scioscia gave serious consideration to dropping the switch-hitter from the leadoff spot to ninth and replacing him at the top of the order with Erick Aybar.

Figgins is batting .065 (two for 31) with four walks and two runs in eight postseason games, and he was a far better hitter from the left side (.323) than the right side (.246) this season.

With lefties Pettitte and Sabathia pitching Games 6 and 7, if necessary, Figgins would hit from the right side in the next two games. Aybar has a .438 career average (seven for 16) against Pettitte.

"One thing he's still doing is working counts, and he's drawn some walks," Scioscia said of Figgins. "He's been through a little downturn, and we need him to pick up that part of his game and to keep feeding the middle of the order."


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