Yan­kees in real fight with tough Phillies

P.E.I. Rocket im­pressed af­ter sweep of Cape Bre­ton

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - Sports - Fred MacDon­ald

The New York Yan­kees were sup­posed to have an easy time of it with the Na­tional League cham­pion Philadel­phia Phillies, but the way lefty Cliff Lee toyed with the Yan­kees’ lineup in their open­ing game win, this se­ries has turned up­side down.

Al­though the Yan­kees re­bounded to win the sec­ond game at Yan­kee Sta­dium be­hind A.J. Bur­nett’s strong out­ing (sur­prise, sur­prise), the New York club is in a real fight as the scene now shifts to the home of the Na­tional League win­ners for Games 3 to 5 start­ing tonight.

One would have thought the strong left-handed hit­ting Phillies lineup would have an eas­ier time with righty Bur­nett than with lefty C.C. Sa­bathia, but that has not been the case all sea­son for the Phils.

They went some­thing like 29-15 ver­sus left­ies in the reg­u­lar sea­son and a lit­tle more than .500 against right­ies. Tonight, Cole Hamels goes for the home team while lefty Andy Pet­titte goes for New York.

Yanks in seven . . . maybe!

On the ice

The P.E.I. Rocket is prov­ing to Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League fans that it’s for real with a sweep of Cape Bre­ton last week­end on the other is­land.

The Rocket, who has been im­pres­sive un­der new coach Eric Lav­i­gne, en­ter­tains Montreal tonight at 7 in the sec­ond game of a week­end se­ries af­ter fac­ing first­place Que­bec City Rem­parts Fri­day night.

I’m im­pressed by the Rocket be­cause: a) the club hasn’t had a full lineup yet this sea­son; b) it has the best goal-tend­ing duo in the league in Marco Cousineau and Evan Mosher.

Lead­ing scor­ers Sam­son Ma­houd and Ben Casa­vant are on the shelf with in­juries and so is as­sis­tant cap­tain J.P. Mathieu, the clever blue-line spark­plug. The Rocket, how­ever, do get back Josh Cur­rie who had been play­ing very well in the early go­ing be­fore be­ing side­lined with a shoul­der in­jury.

Prophet’s picks

The Na­tional Foot­ball League is play­ing havoc with the gam­bling houses in Las Ve­gas as the weaker NFL teams con­tinue to floun­der and un­able to cover the point spread. I know that feel­ing.

One of the big­gest NFL games of the year takes place Sun­day in Lam­beau Field where the 4-2 Green Bay Pack­ers host the 6-1 Min­nesota Vik­ings. Brett Favre re­turns to Green Bay in en­emy Vik­ing colours and that’s go­ing to make for a wild at­mos­phere. In their first meet­ing, the Vik­ings sacked Pack­ers’ Aaron Rodgers eight times, al­though he’ll get bet­ter pro­tec­tion this Sun­day,

I think the Vik­ings are the bet­ter team. Rodgers is a great, young QB, but I don’t think the Pack­ers are good enough. Take the Vik­ings in a nail-biter. The Dol­phins travel to the New York Jets and, al­though I usu­ally don’t like the Fish when they come north, the way they routed the Jets in Florida with their West Coast of­fence two weeks ago tells me to stay with the Fish.

The un­beaten Den­ver Bron­cos travel to Bal­ti­more in a must-win game for the Ravens.

I’ll take Bal­ti­more by four points, but it will not be easy.

The Buf­falo Bills en­ter­tain Hous­ton and young QB Matt Schaub. The Bills have a por­ous of­fen­sive line and can’t give their quar­ter­back time to find re­ceivers Ter­rell Owens or Lee Evans, and that tells me the smart money is on Hous­ton.

As al­ways, pay the mort­gage first, the picks are for fun.

Ins and outs

I had a chat the other evening with for­mer Colonel Gray goal­tender Kent (Turk) Os­borne, who also played cen­tre­field on the 1980s’ ju­nior fast­ball Fawcetts with guys like Ray Dunn, Paul Gorm­ley and Sock and Sandy MacDon­ald.

Turk in­formed me that Is­lan­der Randy Bell played in the World Mas­ters Soft­ball cham­pon­ships in Aus­tralia re­cently with a Cal­gary club and earned a bronze medal in the 120-team tour­na­ment. Randy is the older brother of Scott Bell, and grand­son of Eric (Ike) More­side, a harness racing great from the past.

At the track

Live harness racing con­tin­ues to­day at the Char­lot­te­town Driv­ing Park with a 12-dash card get­ting un­der­way at 1 p.m.

Two di­vi­sions of the Joe O’Brien Memo­rial Stake for colts at $11,000 each are fea­tured, as well as two di­vi­sions of Lady Slip­per Stake for fil­lies at $13,000. The Lady Slip­per has heavy-favourite Merid­ian Magic up against a field that in­cludes How­mac Royale, Wood­mere San­dol­lar, Sh­esa Mint and Ocean­view Con­nie.

Horse­men are break­ing year­lings to harness th­ese days and it’s a busy time for all con­cerned. The an­nual Harrisburg year­ling and mixed sale goes next week in Penn­syl­va­nia and a great many Mar­itime own­ers will be there buy­ing and sell­ing.

The two-year-old trot fil­lies go be­hind the gate tonight at West­ern Fair and Is­lan­der An­thony MacDon­ald drives Re­bel­lious Royalty in one $40,000 OSS gold divi­sion and Is that all you got in the other. Both are trained by his younger brother, James.

Last Fri­day in On­tario, An­thony, Mark and James MacDon­ald all won races at dif­fer­ent tracks — Mark at Wood­bine, An­thony at Ge­or­gian and James at Flam­boro. That’s got to be some kind of first.

Highly re­garded Southview An­nand from El­wood Law­ton’s Southview op­er­a­tion won eas­ily in 1:58 and change last week­end at Grand River for driver Paul MacKen­zie. Paul was also sec­ond in 1:57 Wed­nes­day at Flam­boro with the Gordie Ford-trained Horn­swag­gle for owner Pat Mor­ris of Char­lot­te­town.

The Breed­ers Crown for thor­ough­breds goes this week­end in Santa Anita and two of the CDP’s best simul­cast hand­i­cap­pers, Al MacNeill and Gary Wood, are mak­ing the trip tak­ing along Paul Carmichael who will be count­ing the money. They’ve loaned out their CDP hand­i­cap­ping crown to Rich Wil­son so let’s hope Rich will give us some­thing to dance about.

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