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Yankees will beat Cardinals in six

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

Oct. 3, 2005

I love baseball, am a true fanatic, and there is nothing like the postseason.

I don't know the game as well as Peter Gammons or Harold Reynolds of "Baseball Tonight", but I have a passion and love for the sport. I also have opinions on the playoffs, so here we go.

In the National League, the Cardinals are just too strong and will dominate the Padres. Albert Pujols and Co. have too much lumber plus postseason experience. San Diego was mediocre at best. You have to give the team some credit for surviving in the National League West, but I see the Cardinals moving on.

The Astros-Braves series should be interesting because Houston has a great rotation for a short series. Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt can match up against any staff. Atlanta deserves a salute for its 14th straight division title, and Bobby Cox is a future Hall of Famer. The Braves will have trouble against that Houston staff, though, plus Brad Lidge in the closer role has an advantage. I'm picking Phil Garner's team to reach the NLCS again.

The Cardinals will prevail against the Astros again, with Chris Carpenter coming through. Tony La Russa goes back to the World Series.

Over in the American League, the Angels don't have enough firepower to match up with the Yankees. The offensive attack with Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui will simply be too much for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina will be good enough to get the job done.

The other AL series should be interesting. The White Sox were one of the best teams in baseball all season, yet facing the Red Sox and the dynamic duo of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez is difficult. Chicago has solid starting pitching, with Jose Contreras, Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland and Freddy Garcia. A wild-card team has won the World Series each of the last three years … can Boston repeat?

I see the Red Sox getting past the White Sox in a thrilling series, setting up the drama again … Yankees vs. Red Sox. This time, it will be a little bit different, with Joe Torre's team winning the ALCS in six games.

So it is a Fall Classic battle of paisanos, Torre vs. La Russa head-to-head, with everything on the line. The Bronx Bombers struggled to win that eighth consecutive AL East title, but Rodriguez, Jeter and Co. will find a way to get the last laugh. Torre will have another championship ring, winning in six over the Cardinals.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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