MLL semifinal: Rochester Rattlers vs. Philadelphia Barrage
If the Rattlers are ever to win a playoff game—the team is 0--4 in the postseason—this should be the year: They had MLL's best record (9--3) and have the reigning MVP, John Grant Jr. (right). The Barrage, the defending champ, has won three of the last four pro lacrosse titles.
NASCAR Sharpie 500
With three races to go before the 12-man Chase for the Cup, drivers on the bubble must make their move. David Ragan, who has never made the Sprint Cup postseason, is just 89 points behind 12th-ranked Matt Kenseth, but the 22-year-old may find it tough making up ground today. In three races at Bristol Motor Speedway, Ragan hasn't finished higher than 21st.
ESPN 8 p.m.
Dodgers at Phillies
Manny Ramirez (left) has been in the NL less than a month, but the Phillies have already learned to, ahem, dread the sight of L.A.'s braided leftfielder. Last week the Phils walked him six times in four games—with good reason. Since being traded to the Dodgers, Ramirez has batted .424 and driven in 21 runs in 16 games.
ESPN 1:30 p.m.
Will the Year of Rafa continue? After becoming the first No. 1--ranked man to win Olympic gold, Rafael Nadal moves to New York City to try for his third straight Grand Slam title. The 22-year-old Spaniard, who won his first hard-court title last month, has never advanced past the quarterfinals of the Open. Through Sept. 7.
USA 7 p.m.
SI PICK OF THE WEEK
Women's basketball semifinal
Team USA and Russia are on track to face each other in one semi—which means expat Becky Hammon (SI, Aug. 4), now Russia's point guard, will face her native country.
Thursday, MSNBC 8 a.m.
Men's 110-meter hurdles final
Chinese hero and 2004 gold medalist Liu Xiang withdrew with a foot injury, leaving Cuba's Dayron Robles as the favorite.
Thursday, NBC 8 p.m.
Men's 400-meter final
The U.S.'s Jeremy Wariner (above) can become this event's first repeat gold medalist since his mentor—and agent—Michael Johnson won in 1996 and 2000.
Thursday, NBC 8 p.m.
Women's 4×100-meter relay final
A botched baton pass cost the U.S. a medal in 2004—the first time the U.S. failed to win a medal in the event since 1976.
Friday, NBC 8 p.m.