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Yankees-Twins the marquee matchup of the night

7/26/2005 - MLB

• 7:05 p.m. ET: The Twins are desperate for victories, as they fight for the wild card -- but the Yankees are just as desperate, with their rotation in tatters. Brad Radke starts for Minnesota, against the Yankees' Randy Johnson. This is the Must-Watch Game of the Night.

• 7:05: The Rangers are hanging on the fringe of the wild-card race, and the Orioles are in jeopardy of being in the same predicament unless they start playing better in a hurry. Kenny Rogers starts this game for Texas against the Orioles' Rodrigo Lopez.

• 7:35: The Best Pitching Matchup of the Night will be in Atlanta, where John Smoltz works against Livan Hernandez of the Nationals, with first place in the National League East on the line. This is Hernandez's first start since he threatened to have knee surgery.

• 8:10: White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko's career numbers against Kansas City's Jose Lima are off-the-charts good -- 9 hits in 14 at-bats, including four doubles and two homers. With those kind of numbers, Konerko is The Most Likely Guy To Go Deep in the majors tonight.

• 9:05: Kaz Ishii made two starts in Coors Field last year and didn't exactly fare well -- 18 hits, 13 runs and five homers in eight innings, for a 14.63 ERA. He starts for the Mets against the Rockies' Jeff Francis, who is 6-2 at home this year. All logic points to a Colorado victory, which makes the Mets a Reverse Lock.

• 10:05: Joe Blanton is the least consistent of the Oakland starting pitchers, which means that tonight, Cleveland might have its best possible matchup in this series, with Jake Westbrook taking the mound for the Indians.

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.