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

 

black 1There’s some simple math that makes the opener of the Dodgers’ four-game series against the visiting New York Mets appear to have some added value. The Dodgers send out three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw (4-0, 3.33 ERA) to the mound for the early first-pitch start against defending NL Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom (3-5, 3.72 ERA). Kershaw is 5-0 with a 1.59 ERA in six regular-season home starts against the Mets – however, deGrom beat him 3-1 in Game 1 of the 2015 NL Division Series, as well as winning the decisive Game 5, also at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers have won in all seven of Kershaw’s starts this season, are 19-6 at home and won nine of their last 11, while the Mets, who recently picked up discarded Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, have won six of their last seven.
Kershaw circles back to make another start this week, unfortunately not against Jake Arrieta, another former NL Cy Younger.
How it lays out this week for the Dodgers, 35-18, up by 7 games in the NL West, with the league’s best record, finishing a 6-2 road trip and dropping to No. 3 in the ESPN MLB Power Rankings:
* vs. N.Y. Mets, at Dodger Stadium: Monday (Jacob deGrom vs. Clayton Kershaw) at 5:10 p.m.;  Tuesday (Steven Matz vs. Rich Hill) at 7:10 p.m.; Wednesday (Noah Syndergaard vs. Walker Beuhler) at 7:10 p.m. and Thursday at 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA. Monday and Thursday also Channel 5.
* vs. Philadelphia, at Dodger Stadium: Friday (Jake Arrieta vs. Kenta Maeda) at 7:10 p.m.; Saturday (Zach Eflin vs. Clayton Kershaw) at 7:10 p.m.; and Sunday (TBA vs. Rich Hill) at 1:10 p.m.
Saturday is the Alumni Game and a Steve Garvey bobblehead giveaway.

How it lays out this week for the Angels, 24-28 and 10 games back in  the AL West, 4-5 on their last homestand and dropping from 14 to 21 in the ESPN MLB Power Rankings:
* At Oakland: Monday (Trevor Cahill vs. Chris Bassitt) at 1:07 p.m., Tuesday (TBA vs. Frankie Montas) at 7:07 p.m., Wednesday (Griffin Canning vs. Daniel Mengden) at 12:07 p.m.
* At Seattle: Thursday (Tyler Skaggs vs. Yusei Kikuchi) and Friday (Andrew Heaney vs. Mike Leake) at 7:10 p.m., Fox Sports West; Saturday (Trevor Cahill vs. Tommy Milone) at 4:15 p.m., Channel 11; Sunday (TBA vs. Marco Gonzales) at 1:10 p.m., FSW

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black 2UCLA (47-8), ranked No. 1 in the NCAA baseball D1 poll for 11 straight weeks, was sure to get one of the 16 regional site host duties for the 2019 tournament that starts this week. But the official road to Omaha actually starts against the University of Omaha (Friday, 7 p.m., ESPN3) as the field has filled out and the Bruins are the overall top seed.
This also provides a nice fit for West Coast Conference champion Loyola Marymount to stick close to home. The Lions (32-23), who won all three WCC post-season games in Stockton last week, are the No. 3 seed in the UCLA region and open the tournament against Baylor (Friday, 4 p.m., ESPN3).  If both UCLA and LMU win (or both lose), they meet on Saturday.
Also in the tournament: Big West winner UC Santa Barbara is in the Stanford regional against Fresno State and Sacramento State, but UC Irvine (37-17) failed to make the field of 64.
This is one of 16 four-team, double-elimination events that run, if needed, through Monday, June 3. This feeds into the super regional (June 7-10) with eight teams hosting and two-team, best of three. The winners advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., from June 15-26.
Oregon State is the defending champion. Since the turn of the decade (2011-18), there have been eight different schools to take home the crown.
More info: www.ncaa.com/news/baseball
In the college softball world, UCLA goes in as the No. 2 seed in the Women’s College World Series final eight, opening up against No. 7 on Thursday (11:30 a.m., ESPN) in Oklahoma City, Okla. A win keeps the Bruins in the winners’ bracket for a game Friday (4 p.m., ESPN) against the winner of conference rivals Washington vs. Arizona (Thursday, 9 a.m., ESPN). A loss would send UCLA to the consolation bracket against either Washington or Arizona on Saturday (9 a.m., ESPN), and then a possible second game Saturday (4 p.m., ESPN). The double-elimination event goes to a best-of-three starting on Monday, June 3.
More information: www.ncaa.com/news/softball

Also: USC’s Justin Suh is one of the favorites in the NCAA Division I men’s golf championship at Fayetteville, Ark., for individual stroke play (Monday, 1 p.m., Golf Channel). The team final is Wednesday, 1 p.m., Golf Channel. USC scored the final spot in the team competition after the sectional regionals. Pepperdine is also in the final 29  teams.

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black 3Jimmy Kimmel said it in a recent monologue about the Golden State Warriors going to their fifth straight NBA Finals: “I guess their strategy of signing all the best players to be on one team is working pretty well … The Warriors are going for a three-peat this year, which would be historic. If they win again, the Warriors would be the first championship team in professional sports to not visit the White House for three consecutive years.”
If the Raptors win, do they have to go the U.S. White House?
NBA Finals: Golden State vs. Toronto
* Game 1 at Toronto, Thursday at 6 p.m., Channel 7
* Game 2 at Toronto, Sunday at 5 p.m., Channel 7

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black 4A St. Louis vs. Boston championship matchup, in any sport, usually proves to be very watchable, often historic.
Those in the know realize this Blues-Bruins alignment revisits the 1970 pairing, made famous by Bobby Orr’s famous goal that sent him soaring through the air, punctuating a sweep.
“Nothing like a flashback to 1970 and the drama of that Cup win in Boston and what that meant to a generation of hockey players and really ignited the hockey boom in that city,” said NBC producer Sam Flood, whose network again handles coverage of this. “You look at St. Louis, a city that is now dominating the first round of NHL drafts, clearly the hockey bug is real and great in St. Louis. To have these two markets to be able to face off in a Stanley Cup Final years later should be a lot of fun.”
Remember, the Blues came into the NHL in the same season as the Kings, 1967-68, in the expansion era. This is the Blues’ first trip back to the Stanley Cup Final, while the Bruin, having swept Carolina in the Eastern Conference final, are here for the third time in nine seasons. That means Boston will have had 10 days off prior to this series, and the Blues will have six days of rest, which could hurt the momentum they’ve built in winning 30 of their last 45 regular-season games, then taking down San Jose in six, Dallas in seven and Winnipeg in six.
* Game 1 at Boston, Monday at 5 p.m., Channel 4
* Game 2 at Boston, Wednesday at 5 p.m., NBCSN
* Game 3 at St. Louis/San Jose, Saturday at 5 p.m., NBCSN

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black 5Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final (noon, TNT) would not have been anywhere close on our radar had not for all the neighbor’s commotion during a 24-hour period earlier this month – the noise that erupted on our block after Liverpool came back from 3-0 to defeat Barcelona and Tottenham starting the second half down by three goals and then stunning Ajax.
“I don’t know what to compare it to,” Jason Gay wrote in The Wall Street Journal. “Maybe it’s like the Red Sox coming back from 0-3 to beat the Yankees in the American League Championship Series followed immediately by the Frank Reich Buffalo Bills 35-3 playoff comeback over the Houston Oilers. It was a double-decker sundae of lunacy, absurd on top of absurd, and by late afternoon on Wednesday, as Tottenham sealed it, U.S. social media was reduced to a long, guttural moan: ‘WHAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT’”
The first win made Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr repeat what the Liverpool coach said after the game: “Our guys are (bleeping) giants.” The second win made former NBA star Steve Nash, commentating on Bleacher Report football for TNT, actually tear up on the air.
Now beware: Some 70,000 fans of Liverpool and Tottenham are headed for Madrid.

More

== In the MLS:
LAFC at Portland, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
Galaxy at Kansas City, Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet; vs. New England, at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
The league then takes a four-week break for global tournaments

== In the WNBA:
The Sparks have their 2019 Staples Center home opener vs. Connecticut, Friday at 7:30 p.m. (then go off on a four-game road trip and aren’t back until June 15).

== The Scripps Spelling Bee finals are Thursday on ESPN
== Golf has the Women’s U.S. Open at Charleston, S.C., Thursday-Sunday
== The French Open first and second rounds continue, leading to the June 8 finals.

 

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