The National League Championship Series diverts from the Milwaukee indoor beer garden/green house to the autumn-friendly outdoors of Los Angeles, where the weather forecast for a Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday arrangement of Games 3, 4 and 5 is a consistent high of 81, a low in the 57 range and no precipitation, with humidity in the 25 percent range. The perfect storm for the Dodgers to take three in a row at Dodger Stadium while also smoking a fresh victory cigar, calling an end to this best-of-seven exercise that is intended to teach us all a lesson in “bullpenning.” In that, it can be defeated with heated wood at the right times.
The NLCS schedule:
* Game 3: Dodgers’ Walker Buehler vs. Brewers’ Jhoulys Chacin, Monday at 4:39 p.m., FS1
* Game 4: Dodgers’ Rich Hill vs. Brewers’ undecided (does it really matter?), Tuesday at 6:09 p.m., FS1
* Game 5: Wednesday at 2:05 p.m., FS1
* Games 6 and 7 at Milwaukee, Friday at 5:39 p.m. and Saturday at 6:09 p.m., FS1
Also this week in the American League Championship Series between Boston and Houston:
* Game 3 at Houston: Tuesday at 2:09 p.m., TBS
* Game 4 at Houston: Wednesday at 5:39 p.m., TBS
* Game 5 at Houston: Thursday at 5:09 p.m., TBS
* Games 6 and 7 at Boston, Saturday at 2:09 p.m., and Sunday at 4:39 p.m., TBS
Note: Game 1 of the World Series will be Tuesday, Oct. 23.
Headline in the Washington Post last Sunday under their “Fancy Stats: Analysis” column: “2018-19 NBA Preview: LeBron James as and the Lakers won’t dethrone the Warriors. Yet.” Give them credit for banner punctuation and putting the pause for reflection in the correct place.
Now, this isn’t Watergate or anything, but is there an investigation in place as to how the Lakers could ever dethrone the Warriors in this season or anyone coming up before the next presidential election? The basis of the piece is the Lakers made the “biggest move” of the offseason when they enticed James to leave Cleveland for “the glitz and glam of Hollywood,” giving the francise its first shot at a playoff birth since … wait for it … 2013. It’s been that long? We hardly noticed. This story uses some sort of WARcels simple forcasting system to project a players’ 2018-19 box score Plus Minus and then simulates 1,000 games. The Lakers are projected to win 44 times and become the eighth seed in the West. Defending champion Golden State is projected to win a league-best 59, which would put the Warriors and Lakers up against each other in the first round of the playoffs. So … there’s your dethrone opportunity, folks.
Before we get close to that conclusion, the Lakers open the season in Portland (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., TNT) and have their home opener against Houston (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN, Spectrum SportsNet).
Meanwhile, the Clippers, projected to miss the playoffs with 36 wins (behind the Blazers’ 40, above the Mavs and Grizzlies at 34), start this exercise at Staples Center against Denver (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket) and also play host to Oklahoma City (Friday, 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket) and Houston (Sunday, 6 p.m., Prime Ticket).
Other games of note on the first week of the NBA regular season:
Philadelphia at Boston, 5 p.m., TNT
Oklahoma City at Golden State, 7:30 p.m., TNT
New Orleans at Houston,, 5 p.m., ESPN
Dallas at Phoenix, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Boston at Toronto, 5 p.m., ESPN
Golden State at Utah, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
On one end, the 4-2 Chargers continue their “Wanna Get Away” trip, exiting Cleveland in due time and jetting toward Wembley Stadium for a mandatory London encounter with Tennessee (Sunday, 6:30 a.m., Channel 2). It’s their way of grieving the loss of their original owner, Alex Spanos.
The 6-0 Rams get to circle back to San Francisco (Sunday, 1:25 p.m., Channel 2, traded with Fox) for another opportunity to put distance between themselves and anyone else still with a pulse in the NFC West. The 1-4 49ers have lost three in a row, including by two against the Chargers, and have yet to exit Week 6 yet before considering this Week 7 strategy.
And through it all, the 1-5 Raiders have a bye week.
To finish Week 6:
* San Francisco at Green Bay, Monday at 5:15 p.m., ESPN
Also in Week 7:
* Denver at Arizona, Thursday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 11, NFL Network, Amazon Prime
* Carolina at Philadelphia, Sunday at 10 a.m., Channel 11
* New England at Chicago, Sunday at 10 a.m., Channel 2
* Cincinnati at Kansas City, Sunday at 5:20 p.m., Channel 4
Now on the backside of the college football season, Week 8 first brings us a ESPN “College GameDay” visit to Pullman, Wash. This is significant for many reasons. One of them: Really, Pullman gets a visit, but not L.A.? We haven’t have the persistence to get this close to a Lee Corso sighting actually. WSU (5-1, 2-1) just jumped up to No. 23 in the coaches’ poll and No. 25 in the AP writers’ poll and have a key game against visiting No. 10 Oregon (5-1, 2-1). Besides, in this frame, USC (4-2, 3-1) goes to Utah (4-2, 2-2) (Saturday, 5 p.m., Pac 12 Network), where the Trojans have lost in their last two trips to Salt Lake City on a late TD. UCLA (1-5, 1-2) tries to see what a win streak feels like with a home game against struggling Arizona (3-4, 2-2) (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2)
Other key games in Week 8:
Stanford at Arizona State, 6 p.m., ESPN
Colorado State at Boise State, 6 p.m., ESPN2
Oklahoma at TCU, 9 a.m., Channel 7
Michigan at Michigan State, 9 a.m., Channel 11
Auburn at Mississippi, 9 a.m., ESPN
Alabama at Tennessee, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
North Carolina State at Clemson, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
Colorado at Washington, 12:30 p.m., Channel 11
Penn State at Indiana, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
Mississippi State at LSU, 4 p.m., ESPN
Ohio State at Purdue, 4:30 p.m., Channel 7
Oregon at Washington State, 4:30 p.m., Channel 11
Don’t sleep on the LAFC (16-8-8, 56 points). It may have already secured a playoff spot – a huge achievement for an expansion team – and finished with a 9-1-6 home record, but there’s that 7-7-2 road mark that could use some polishing. It needs to fourth or better to get home field for the playoffs, but having won eight of their last nine since Aug. 11 bodes well for a next-to-last trip to Vancouver (Sunday, 2 p.m., YouTube TV) before finishing the season Oct. 28 at Kansas City.
The Galaxy (12-11-9, 45 points) also spends the weekend away (at Minnesota, Sunday, 2 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet) before its Oct. 28 finale at home against Houston. Both are behind them in the Western Conference standings, where the Galaxy is a point out from getting into the top six and needs something bad to happen to Real Salt Lake (13-12-7), which finishes the season at home vs. Portland (Saturday, 2 p.m.)
The NHL’s snooze alarm may kick in at any moment. The Kings’ four-game road trip ends in Toronto (Monday, 4:30 p.m., Fox Sports West) before they’re back at Staples Center to play the New York Islanders (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., FSW) and Buffalo (Saturday, 12:30 p.m., FSW). The Ducks also get home visits from the Islanders (Wednesday, 7 p.m., FSW) and Sabers (Sunday, 5 p.m., FSW) around a trip to Las Vegas (Saturday, 7 p.m., Prime Ticket).