08.05.19: Five things for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

black 1Remember when the Angels pummeled the Dodgers a couple of weeks ago? Twice?
A tale of two teams, within one city logo, continues on divergent paths that leaves one to forget that even happened.
The Cardinal sin for the Dodgers as they enter the last two months of the regular season is believing they can coast into the playoffs. The two-time NL champion and six-time NL West winner face St. Louis, probably a surprise leader in the NL Central, for three games that could be one of those playoff preview kind of things. Note the Cardinals swept four from the Dodgers in early April, including a 4-0 shutout thrown by six Cardinals pitchers. We then reach a point where the Diamondbacks make their last visit to Dodger Stadium for the season, where they’ve already lost in five of their six L.A. games and don’t have Zack Greinke in the rotation any more. The key talking points this week will be when and where Hyun-Jin Ryu comes off the IL after his 10-day stint should end, and how many more starts Dustin May might make.
The Angels, meanwhile, get no breaks with injuries and are forced to take  another uneventful interleague required series in Cincinnati before heading to Boston:

How the week plays out for the Dodgers (an MLB-best 74-40 mark in the NL West, 17  games up, still No. 1 in the ESPN Power Rankings):
Vs. St. Louis at Dodger Stadium:
Monday at 7:10 p.m., (Tony Gonsolin vs. Michael Wacha), SNLA
Tuesday at 7:10 p.m., (Clayton Kershaw vs. Miles Mikolas), SNLA
Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. (Dustin May vs. Jack Flaherty), YouTube.com
Vs. Arizona at Dodger Stadium:
Friday at 7:10 p.m. (Walker Buehler vs. Alex Young)
Saturday at 6:10 p.m. (Kenta Maeda vs. Robbie Ray)
Sunday at 1:10 p.m., (TBA vs. Merrill Kelly)

How the week plays out for the Angels (56-57 in the AL West, 17 back from the lead, nine back in the wildcard, losers of four in a row and eight of their last 10):
At Cincinnati:
Monday at 4:10 p.m. (Patrick Sandoval vs. Luis Castillo), Fox Sports West
Tuesday at 4:10 p.m., (Jose Suarez vs. Anthony DeSciafani), FSW
At Boston:
Thursday at 4:10 p.m. (Dillon Peters vs. Chris Sale), FSW
Friday at 4:10 p.m., (TBA vs. David Price), FSW
Saturday at 1:05 p.m., (Jamie Barria vs. Rick Porcello), FSW
Sunday at 10:05 a.m. (TBA vs. Andrew Cashner), FSW


black 2Aside from HBO’s “Hard Knocks” with the Raiders, it’s not the time to get too pumped up about exhibition stadium-based activity (we can’t call them “pre-season” or “games” for that matter). It begins for the Rams, Raiders and Chargers as a TV show to some extent. The Rams’ trip to Oakland goes down as a Saturday night 5 p.m. event on both Channel 2 and 5 (the former has the Rams’ TV rights this time of year, and the later follows the Raiders). The Chargers’ 7 p.m. Thursday trip to Arizona goes to Channel 7.
Thursday: N.Y. Jets vs. N.Y. Giants, 4 p.m., NFL Network
Friday: Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh, 4:30 p.m., NFL Network
Saturday: Dallas at San Francisco, 6 p.m., NFL Network


black 3From the blurb in ESPN’s MLS Power Rankings about the LAFC, which are the No. 1 team with 16 wins, 3 losses and 4 draws, keeping their No. 1 perch:
“Making the cross-country trip with five All-Stars in tow, the best team in the league took down the hottest team in the league on the turf at Gillette Stadium and maintained a record pace for points. The fact that Vela wasn’t involved in either goal is actually a plus: It showed the Black & Gold can win without his direct influence.”
As for the Galaxy (12-10-1), which fell from No. 10 to No. 11 this week after a tough loss in Atlanta:
“We’re here to report that there is no truth to the rumors that the Galaxy have petitioned Major League Soccer to throw out the result of any game that Zlatan Ibrahimovic doesn’t play in. No truth to them at all, nope.”
This week:
* LAFC vs. New York Red Bulls, Banc of California Stadium, Sunday at 7 p.m., FS1
* Galaxy at D.C. United, Sunday at 4:30 p.m., Channel 11


black 4Candace Parker? Now we recognize her.
Her 21-point, seven-rebound contribution to the Sparks’ 83-75 win over Seattle on Sunday in her second game back from a hamstring injury, should make the team’s run toward the playoffs that much more confidence building.
How the week plays out for the Sparks (13-8 in the Western Conference, on a three-game win streak, 8-2 in their last 10 and 1 1/2 games behind Las Vegas)
Vs. Phoenix, at Staples Center, Thursday at 7 p.m., ESPN2
Vs. Chicago, at Staples Center, Sunday at 2 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet


black 5Not the kind of thing we necessarily want to over promise and under deliver here. But  San Bernardino again plays host to the West and Northwest Regional finals – the only city that has two of the eight regionals in one spot. They began Sunday and go through the title games on Saturday – Northwest Regional at noon on ESPN, West Regional at 6 p.m. on ESPN.
(with the Midwest final at 8 a.m., the New England final at 10 a.m., the Great Lakes final at 2 p.m. and Mid-Atlantic final at 4 p.m. for a day-long distribution. Meanwhile, the Southeast final is Wednesday at 10 a.m., ESPN, and the Southwest finals follows at noon). The Northwest and West semifinals are Thursday and Friday on ESPN.
Sweetwater Valley Little League from Bonita represents Southern California this year in the West’s six-team bracket that includes Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, Norther California and Utah.
The 2019 Little League World Series tournament in Williamsport, Pa., will start Aug. 15 and conclude on Aug. 25.
More info: www.littleleague.org


You need more? Relax, it’s the two slowest weeks of the summer.
With the U.S. Open tennis tournament about a month out, there’s the ATP and WTA Rogers Cup events in Montreal, the U.S. Women’s Amateur Golf event in West Point, Mass., the PGA’s event in Jersey City, N.J., the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Kansas City, NASCAR in Brooklyn, Mich.
Have you been to the Grammy Museum lately at L.A. Live?


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