Final inning could be rough for Braves at Fenway

Originally Published: May 20, 2005
By Buster Olney | ESPN The Magazine

Adam Bernero
Bernero

Danny Kolb
Kolb

• 7:05 p.m. ET: The Big Series of the weekend will be in Boston, where the Red Sox -- trying to gain some momentum after finishing their West Coast trip badly -- throw Wade Miller against the Braves. Tim Hudson works for Atlanta, and somebody besides Danny Kolb will be the closer. If it's Adam Bernero, keep in mind that he does not have a save in pro ball, and he could get his first opportunity in Fenway Park. Not an easy place.

• 7:05 p.m. ET: You can understand the logic of some of the interleague matchups. Seattle and San Diego are natural rivals, sort of, because they play in the same spring training site. Washington plays Toronto because the Nationals used to be from Montreal. Minnesota and Milwaukee are in the same time zone, and they used to be in the same league. But Arizona at Detroit? I guess somebody's going to get stuck with the leftovers. Brandon Webb throws for the D-Backs.

• 7:10 p.m. ET: The Yankees and Mets will have two of the city's least-favorite sons on the mound -- Kevin Brown, thrower of the infamous hand-breaking punch last September, against Victor Zambrano, whose acquisition may go down as the worst Mets' trade since the Nolan Ryan deal. Somebody will get booed tonight.

• 7:35 p.m. ET: The Guy Most Likely To Go Deep will be Javy Lopez of the Orioles, hitting against Randy Wolf of the Phillies. They have a history -- Lopez has two homers in 21 prior at-bats against Wolf. Daniel Cabrera pitches for Baltimore.

• 8:05 p.m. ET: Kenny Rogers takes a streak of 30 consecutive scoreless innings into the game against Houston, which has trouble scoring, anyway. The Guy Most Likely To Go Deep tonight will be Alfonso Soriano of the Rangers, hitting against the Astros' Brandon Backe.

Zack Greinke
Greinke

Mark Mulder
Mulder

• 8:10 p.m. ET: The Best Pitching Matchup of the Day will be in Kansas City, where Mark Mulder -- surging, and dominating the National League -- takes on the Royals' Zack Greinke. Kauffman Stadium has been a nice place for Mulder: Since the outset of the 2002 season, he is 3-0 in three starts in K.C., with a 2.35 ERA and an opponents' batting average of .226.

• 10:15 p.m. ET: Two teams desperately needing victories to stay in their respective division races square off in San Francisco. The Athletics' Joe Blanton throws against San Francisco's Kirk Rueter.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly from Thursday
The Good
Joe Mays pitched a gem for the Twins, tossing a complete-game shutout in Minnesota's 4-0 victory over Toronto. Mays didn't walk a batter and threw just 93 pitches to earn his third win in four decisions this season.

The Bad
The Giants had 10 hits, but managed to score only one run in losing to the Rockies 3-1 at Coors Field. San Francisco stranded a baserunner in every inning except the eighth and overall left 10 runners on base the entire game.

The Ugly
Rodrigo Lopez allowed six runs -- all earned -- in the first three innings and the Orioles never fully recovered in falling 7-4 to the Royals. Lopez won his first two games of the season, but has mostly struggled since that point as he's 0-2 with a 6.32 ERA over his last seven starts.

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.

Buster Olney | email

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine

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