Yanks need a Small feat in Texas
Buster Olney takes a look at Wednesday's top matchups.
• 1:05 p.m. ET: The forecast in Boston is for a warm day, temperatures nearing 90 degrees -- and David Wells, the scheduled starter for the Red Sox, can't stand pitching in warm-weather day games; might be worth checking the bullpen phones. Mark Hendrickson pitches for Tampa Bay.
• 1:10: The Big Series between the Orioles and Twins wraps up, with Rodrigo Lopez throwing against Brad Radke -- and Radke has one win since June 1. The Most Likely Guy To Go Deep will be Rafael Palmeiro, who has eight career home runs against Radke -- that's right, eight in 52 at-bats, among 17 hits, for a .327 batting average. Radke has surrendered 20 homers this year.
• 7:05: The Reverse Lock of the Day will be in Texas, where all logic points to a Rangers' victory. Aaron Small, a 33-year-old journeyman with a career ERA of 5.49, starts for the Yankees, against a team on its way to setting a single-season record for home runs. Either Joaquin Benoit or John Wasdin is expected to make the start for Texas. For pure offensive theatre, this is also The Must-Watch Game of the Day.
• 10:05: The Best Pitching Matchup of the Day will be in Anaheim, where Barry Zito -- who is throwing as well now as he did during his Cy Young season, according to GM Billy Beane -- starts against Paul Byrd. In his last 10 decisions, Byrd is 8-2.
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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