07.09.18: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

2future1The final four in the quest for global kickball domination comes down to this pre-set schedule: France vs. Belgium (Tuesday, 11 a.m.) and England vs. Croatia (Wednesday, 11 a.m.), either on Channel 11 Fox or Telemundo (we recommend the later). France and England are favored to win and advance to the final (Sunday, 8 a.m.) But then again Brazil was the heavy 9-to-4 favorite once the quarterfinals started. England, which hasn’t been this deep in the event since 1990, has the “It’s Coming Home” mantra to rally behind. Harry Kane is supposed to be in line to win the Golden Boot with six goals, and goalie Jordan Pickford is making a strong case for the Golden Glove after a strong performance against Sweden. But then, there’s Croatia. Croatia? Yup …


2future2Granted, the odds are pretty, pretty stacked against former UCLA standout MacKenzie McDonald of getting to the men’s final at Wimbledon (Sunday, 6 a.m., ESPN). The two-time Pac-12 player of the year shot his way into the Round of 16 and plays a Manic Monday match on Court 12 against 13th seed Milos Raonic of Canada (4:45 a.m.). The other American still standing in the men’s bracket, John Isner, gets Stephanos Tsitsipas of Greece on Monday as well. But top-seeded Roger Federer and second seed Rafa Nadal are also very much alive and kicking and, should they reach the championship match, they’ll be going up against the World Cup soccer final. Nice planning, eh? In England, they’ve moved this event from BBC1 to BBC2, so that says something. It’s not as if Britian has any chance of a player in the men’s final after Kyle Edmund lost on Saturday to Novak Djokovic, who was heavily booed after his win and not happy about it.
On the women’s side, Serena Williams, the only American player left here in this now open field after so many seeds have taken a hit, faces unseeded Russian Evgeniya Rodina on Center Court (Monday, 7 a.m.). The women’s final is slated for Saturday at 6 a.m. (ESPN).



2future3 The stat of last weekend that kept us scratching our head: The Dodgers’ fate depending on whether not they score the first run of a game is somewhat decided. Going into the late Sunday game in Anaheim, the Dodgers have posted a 43-13 record (.768). But when they give up the first run of the game, it’s 5-27 (.156), a league-high difference of .612. And the Angels’ are almost as predictable – a 33-9 clip (.786) when scoring first, and 12-35 (.255) when they give up the first run, making the difference of .531. After three in Anaheim, they finish the first part of the season before the All-Star break with three at Dodger Stadium —  Friday at 7:10 p.m. (SNLA, FSW), Saturday at 4:15 p.m. (FS1) and Sunday at 1:10 p.m. (SNLA, FSW). Then they can start the rumors again about trying to pick up Manny Machado before the end of the month. Dave Roberts can sing all he wants (see below), but we doubt it’ll happen.
Also this week for the Dodgers; At San Diego, Monday-Thursday, 7 p.m., SNLA
Also this week for the Angels: At Angel Stadium vs. Seattle, Tuesday-Thursday, 7 p.m., FSW


2future4So you’re into the NBA Summer League in Vegas again? The newest place where Grayson Allen goes to get his aggression out is also the place to be seen again. The Lakers’ roster of 12 rookies and two entering their second year (but not Lonzo Ball) continue their schedule against the Knicks (Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., Thomas & Mack Center) before finishing out the week there depending on how seeds are determined. The Clippers have a matchup against the Rockets (Monday, 8:30 p.m.) before their next two are figured out. Hang around long enough, and you can also see the WNBA Sparks take on Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Events Center (Sunday, 3 p.m.). The Sparks have already defeated the Aces twice this season, by 16 each time.


2future5Does Manny Pacquiao still move the boxing needle? We ask because the former eight-division world champ isn’t on pay-per-view, or network TV, or cable TV for that matter when he steps in the ring next against Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse for the WBA welterweight title in Malaysia on Saturday (at about 8 p.m. PDT, but 10 a.m. local time on Sunday). It’ll be instead be streaming on the ESPN+ app. It will be the first appearance for the 39-year-old Pacquiao (59-7,2, 38 KOs) since ESPN put him on its cable network for a win over someone named Jeff Horn in July of 2017. Pacquiao, who also fancies himself as a point guard in the Fillipino team in the World Cup qualifers, hasn’t delivered a knockout victory since 2009 and this is his first fight since firing longtime trainer Freddie Roach.. “This matchup is a perfect example of the world-class caliber of events we envisioned for ESPN+ when we announced our agreement with Top Rank,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming and Scheduling.  “Pacquiao vs. Matthysse, which will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+, shows the commitment we have to delivering fans the best of boxing year-round on our direct-to-consumer platform.” Yeah, even he really doesn’t believe that.


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