Rivalry still special

Rich Fyle column

From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles, celebrating our sixth anniversary while checking the email:

Question: Can Syracuse football salvage its season?

Answer: It’s not going to be easy with records of 3-4 overall and 0-3 in the ACC. SU is the only school in the conference not to win a league game in 2019. Many forecasters, including myself, thought SU would have a 9-3 season with a significant bowl game. But now, it’s going to be a daunting task to finish 6-6 and scrape up a minor bowl game in which SU would have to win four of its last five games to qualify. The offensive line has failed miserably, allowing SU’s quarterbacks to be sacked 35 times (one of the worse totals overall in FBS) in seven games, and slowing any type of offensive rhythm. The final five games are at Florida St. (3-4), home to BC (4-3), at Duke (4-3), at Louisville (4-3) and home to Wake Forest (6-1).

Q: Why can’t Yankees get over the top in the playoffs?

A: They have all the necessary ingredients, except for dominant starting pitching, and that was exposed in their six-game ALCS defeat to the Astros. It’s hard to win a World Series having batters trying to launch home runs and using the bullpen to near death. In addition to the Yankees acquiring a top-notch starter (Stephen Strasburg if he opts out of his deal, Gerrit Cole or Madison Bumgarner), to lighten the bullpen load, they must have hitters reduce strikeouts. D.J. LeMahieu fits that mold and so does Gleyber Torres. The team has too many DHs (Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Edwin Encarnacion and Luke Voit) who often whiff in key spots. The Yankees are a very good team that feasts on opponents’ feeble starters and/or relievers on bad teams, but occasionally struggles when it can’t put the ball in play consistently enough versus great teams. They were 6-for-35 (.171) with runners in scoring position vs. the Astros. The Yankees have many star players, but they don’t have someone like Astros superstar Jose Altuve.

Q: Who do you like in the World Series between the Astros and Nationals?

A: The Fall Classic will be star-studded with starting pitching with Cole, Justin Verlander, Strasburg and Max Scherzer. Houston’s roster is more talented and definitely has more Series experience. The Nationals are riding a magical carpet since they were 19-31 in late May. I like the Astros in six games, though the Nationals have the starters and clutch hitter Anthony Rendon to make things interesting.

n Richie Rich’s Top 10 rankings in the NFL: 1. Pats; 2. 49ers; 3. Saints; 4. Packers; 5. Vikings; 6. Bills; 7. Ravens; 8. Seahawks; 9. Chiefs; 10. Colts.

Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at rfyle@wdt.net

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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