Palmeiro needs one hit for 3,000
Buster Olney takes a look at Friday's top matchups and the good, the bad and the ugly from Thursday.
• 7:05 p.m. ET: The Red Sox are at home, where they win about 60 percent of the time. They've got David Wells, veteran of many big games, throwing against the Yankees' Tim Redding, who is 0-5 in the majors this year, with an ERA of 9.10. Redding's allowed a whopping seven homers in 29.2 innings, and now he's going to be working against arguably the best lineup in the majors. All logic points to a Boston victory, so this is The Reverse Lock Game of the Night, and the Yankees will win.
• 7:10: Old pals Tom Glavine and John Smoltz used to battle all the time on the golf course, as teammates. Now they're going to be teeing it up against each other in Shea Stadium, as the Braves face the Mets in a must-win series for New York. That makes it The Must-Watch Game of the Night.
• 8:10: The Angels play the Twins in Game 2 of their crucial series, with Minnesota still desperately in need of some pop from its lineup. Brad Radke throws against L.A.'s Paul Byrd, who might be the last guy Minnesota wants to face in this situation: The Twins are anxious, and he usually is very adept at taking advantage of anxious hitters.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly from Thursday
The Good: After finishing the first half strong, the Oakland Athletics came out with a second-half statement Thursday, as Rich Harden two-hit the Texas Rangers, striking out eight batters and walking none; Harden needed only 81 pitches.
The Bad: The Nationals are in trouble. With Nick Johnson in their lineup, their offense was passable, and he was the linchpin of hits and walks. With Johnson out, however, they've increasingly got a problem in the middle of their order, and they've now dropped six of their last eight games, averaging just three runs per game.
The Ugly: Curt Schilling's first outing out of the bullpen was a bust, as he allowed a game-winning two-run homer to Alex Rodriguez -- and the Red Sox are probably much more willing today than they were yesterday to make a trade for a veteran reliever.
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.
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