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The Phillies have control of the World Series
  1. MLB

MLB: League Championship series on the verge

We take a look at how the American and National League Championship series are taking shape, with both of them one result away from a conclusion.

Can the Houston Astros go one further and reach their fourth World Series in six seasons or can the New York Yankees get rid of their recent hoodoo about reaching the fall classic?

And who will win between the two Wild Card candidates in the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League?

American League Championship Series

New York Yankees vs Houston Astros

The Houston Astros are on the cusp of the World Series as they lead the ALCS 3-0. They won the first two games at Minute Maid Park and then followed up by winning the next game at Yankee Stadium in front of a hostile crowd.

The Astros won all three games in the regular season at Yankee Stadium and they require just one more win in the Bronx to reach the Fall Classic, yet again.

The job isn’t quite complete  though and while the Astros are brimming with confidence, they will be wary of New York and hoping to complete the job on Sunday night.

In Game three it was another dominating performance led by pitcher Cristian Javier, with major contributions from Chas McCormick and veteran catcher Christian Vazquez in a 5-0 win.

Speaking to the official Astros' website following the win, team manager Dusty Baker said: "Well, I don't know if dominant is the word. I mean, all of them are close, except tonight. So I don't think about being dominant. I just think about scoring one more run than they score and winning the ballgame.

"The Yankees are always dangerous, especially here in New York, so we got an opportunity to close it out and win tomorrow, so we're going to take every opportunity to try to do that."

The Astros remain unbeaten in the postseason, they have won six straight games and they require one more win to reach the fifth World Series in franchise history and fourth since 2017.

Speaking to the official Yankees website, team manager Aaron Boone acknowledged that the Bronx Bombers had a mountain to climb: "To win these games, you need a little something from everyone. Sometimes that can be something small, sometimes it can be something big.

"A handful are struggling a little bit right now, but we've got to find a way against a very good pitching staff."

In the history of best-of-seven postseason series 39 teams have lost each of the first three games. Of those, only one has rallied to win the series - that was the Boston Red Sox versus the Yankees in the ALCS in 2004.

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National League Championship Series

Philadelphia Phillies vs San Diego Padres

The Phillies are closing in on a first World Series appearance since 2009, they lead 3-1 against the San Diego Padres.

The last time they reached the fall classic they lost to the New York Yankees (the last time the Bronx Bombers won the World Series) and, while the return match-up is unlikely, the Phillies would be looking to win their first World Series since 2008.

The Phillies are now just one win away from reaching a goal that they want to achieve and especially Bryce Harper, who signed a multi-year deal in 2019.

Harper saw his former side the Washington Nationals go on and win the World Series that year, which must have grated on the outfielder, he and Philadelphia are one step away.

Speaking to MLB.com following the Phillies 10-6 win over the Padres in game four, Harper said: "This is what we play for, this is what you work for each offseason and going into Spring Training.

"This is what you want to do. Our organisation, they believe in us and they want us to do this every year."

The Padres, who defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers to reach this stage, have seen their pitching staff struggle in the 10-6 loss at Citizens Bank Park pushing their season to the brink.

They trail 3-1 in the NLCS and must now win three games in three days to stave off elimination.

Speaking to the official Padres website, outfielder Juan Soto said: "Anything can happen. They have to win another game. We aren't going to give them that win easily. We're going to go out there and play our best, see what happens."

Both sides reached this stage via the Wild Card and have produced an excellent Championship series, however, it looks like it will be an Astros versus Phillies World Series.

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