Big Papi ready to go yard


• 1:05 p.m. ET: The Most Likely Hitter To Go Deep today is David Ortiz of the Red Sox. He's facing Jason Johnson, against whom he has 20 career at-bats – and no home runs. He breaks the streak in Detroit. Bronson Arroyo throws for Boston.

• 1:10 p.m. ET: The Best Pitching Matchup of the Day will be in Minnesota, where C.C. Sabathia of the Indians faces the Twins' Brad Radke. So far, Radke has thrown 41 innings and issued a total of one walk, with 23 strikeouts.

• 1:10 p.m. ET: Tough day for the home-plate umpire at Shea Stadium, with Victor Zambrano starting for the Mets. He has thrown 26 1/3 innings and has racked up 17 walks, and he's usually all over the strike zone. Come to think of it, the hitters better wear their armor, too – he has hit five batters already. Vicente Padilla works for Philadelphia.

• 2:05 p.m. ET: The Reverse Lock of the Day will be in Chicago, where Jose Contreras always seems to pitch well. He averages more than six innings per outing at U.S. Cellular, with an ERA of 3.32, and opponents are hitting .216 against him there. Plus, he'll be facing the Royals and Zack Greinke. All logic says the White Sox will win, so look for the Royals to break out.

• 7:15 p.m. ET: The Yankees play in Tampa Bay. Usually, nothing good can come out of this for the Yankees because they're expected to win. But these days, they'll take any victory they can get. Chien-Ming Wang throws for the Yankees against Mark Hendrickson of the Devil Rays.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly from Wednesday
The Good
Starting at third base for the first time in seven games because of a sore left foot, Chipper Jones made his presence felt early as he hit a solo homer in his first at-bat in the Braves' 5-2 victory over the Marlins.

The Bad
The Rockies just can't buy a victory, and they lost their eighth straight game, 8-7 to the Padres. Each of Colorado's last four defeats has been by one run.

The Ugly
The A's lost their third consecutive game to the Rangers and were pounded in the process. Texas collected 18 hits – 14 of which were singles – and routed Oakland 16-7. Danny Haren took the loss for the A's, allowing seven runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. His book, "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty," is available in paperback and can be ordered through HarperCollins.com.