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

black 1U.S. soccer fever is preventable, with or without a shot at your doctor’s office. But if you’re going to be full-on exposed to what drama lies ahead, have plenty of chicken soup available.
The Women’s World Cup in France reaches the end of the Round of 16 and then a potential let’s-settle-this-thing-early quarterfinals this week. The U.S. Women’s National Team has put itself into Ugly Americans category in some ways – the overwhelming favorite, and nothing less than a title would be a crash and burn mission.
So next up: Spain, Monday at 9 a.m., FS1. If the U.S. wins, then it meets up with host France in the quarterfinals on Friday (noon, Channel 11).
Afterward, the semifinals (July 2-3) and the final (July 7).
Nancy Armour wrote in USA Today after the U.S.’s 2-0 win over Sweden that “the Americans proved they are the force to be reckoned with over the next three weeks.
“Whatever team has designs on lifting that trophy July 7, it’s going to have to go through the Americans to do it.”
The Americans finished the group stage with the maximum nine points, and set a World Cup record with 18 goals in the group stage. Defensively, the U.S. and Germany are the only teams that have yet to allow a goal.
“I feel like any team that’s going to go on and win is the team that has so many threats and doesn’t rely on one player,” Crystal Dunn said. “People should know we rotate our players. We have a strong 23 and we’re always fresh and ready to go.”
The rest of the Round of 16:
Canada vs. Sweden in Paris, Monday at noon, FS1
Italy vs. China in Montpellier, Tuesday at 9 a.m., FS1
Netherlands vs. Japan in Rennes, Tuesday at noon, FS1
Already advancing to the quarterfinals: France, Germany, Norway and England.
More info: www.fifa.com/womensworldcup

Also:
Closer to home, the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament has given the U.S. Men’s National Team some promising exposure after wins against Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago by a combined 10-0 count in the first Group D contests. That round ends with a U.S.-Panama matchup on Wednesday (at Kansas City, 6 p.m., FS1).
Then there’s a slot in the quarterfinals on Saturday (either 4 p.m. or 7 p.m. in Houston, FS1) or Sunday (either 2:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. in Philadelphia, FS1).
After that:
* Semifinals: July 2-3 in Glendale, Ariz., and Nashville
* Final: July 7 in Chicago
More info: www.goldcup.org

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black 2Coming off an historic weekend sweep of the Rockies at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers’ upcoming four-day trip to the Mile High Club, with a pitching staff that needs a deep breath, may require that yellow cone fallout out of the sky for an oxygen fix. A couple weeks ago, the Rockies invited the Padres into Coors Field and combined for 92 runs, an MLB four-game series record. Outcomes like 14-13 and 16-12 in extra innings take anyone’s breath away. When they last played in Colorado April 5-6, the Dodgers swept with scores of 10-6, 7-2 and 12-6 – and the last one included Joe Kelly even getting a win in relief. If Cody Bellinger doesn’t collect a dozen hits in this series, off 12 different Rockies’ throwers, something isn’t right.
Also of note: The series opener on Thursday marks the half-way point in the season. For those projecting Bellinger stats, or the Dodgers’ potential win title, just double it after that game.
Meanwhile, in Anaheim, there’s a Yasiel Puig sighting. The Angels reach the season halfway point in the back half of a two-game series with visiting Cincinnati on Wednesday that has an earlier start time – beware of the shadows. Continue reading “06.24.19: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance”

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

black 1So much for Woj bombs going easy on the NBA’s newly minted off season. Before the Toronto Raptors could even have their victory parade, nuclear summer began. The Lakers’ trade-in-place with New Orleans to make Anthony Davis a household name in Southern California again you’re your dad about the USC running back who should have won the Heisman in the 1970s) has rocked things off the hinges to where the Lakers are rid of their No. 4 overall pick they landed in the lottery and just gave away prior to the NBA Draft that grows in Brooklyn on Thursday (4 p.m., ESPN), which is about 10 days before the free agent signings can start to apparently not happen as one may have originally anticipated. Just follow ESPN Senior NBA Insider (that’s all caps) Adrian Wojnarowski’s verified Twitter account (@wojespn ) for more tea-leaf readings as things seem to now change hourly.
As for the draft, according to the consensus aggregation:
New Orleans takes Zion Williamson of Duke overall.
Memphis takes Ja Morant of Murray State second.
New York ends up with R.J. Barrett, also of Duke, as No. 3.
If the Pelicans swoop back now and take Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver, who could have been a Laker … so be it. Apparently.
Play along at the NBA Draft site for the next 57 choices. And we still think Rui Hachimura is going too low, no matter who gets him at this point. And USC’s Kevin Porter Jr., is the local kid to keep an eye on. And we just can’t wait to her the name “Bol Bol” announced.
More info: www.nba.com/draft/2019

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black 2The U.S. Women’s National Team continues its zealous march/golf-clap celebration through the Women’s World Cup group play with its final Group round match against co-leader Sweden (Thursday, noon, Channel 11). Then the Round of 16 begins Saturday.
Said Fox studio analyst Alexi Lalas after the U.S.’s reserve-lineup 3-0 win over Chile on Sunday morning, the encore to the 13-0 win over Thailand days earlier: “Warm ups are over. The tournament now starts for the U.S. I just hope they can switch it on when it really matters.”
From colleague Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times comes more nuances to pay attention: A U.S.-France matchup in the quarterfinals could happen and potentially be a mess setting up the tournament’s climax.
If the U.S. defeats or ties Sweden on Thursday to win the group, it plays either Germany of Spain in the Round of 16, then would likely be on track to face France in the quarters in Paris. The winner would likely be the favorite, but as a result, it would eliminate one or the other biggest draw as far as the local fans care, or the TV audience in the U.S. might care. If Sweden leaps past the U.S. on Thursday, however, and advances – the U.S. still moves ahead, against tougher foes, but it would set them up for a potential title matchup with France.
So, yes, there are scenarios played out where the U.S. might want to pump the breaks early … But, really, why do that?
The Round of 16 goes through June 25, followed by the quarterfinals (June 27-29), the semifinals (July 2-3) and the final on July 7.
More info: www.fifa.com/womensworldcup

Also: The CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament that launched last weekend at the Rose Bowl puts the focus on the U.S. Men’s National Team appearance, a Group D opener against Guyana (at St. Paul, Minn., Tuesday at 7 p.m., FS1) and then vs. Trinidad and Tobago (at Cleveland, Saturday at 5 p.m., FS1).
Looking ahead after a U.S.-Panama final group matchup on June 26:
* Quarterfinals: June 29-30 in Houston and Philadelphia
* Semifinals: July 2-3 in Glendale, Ariz., and Nashville
* Final: July 7 in Chicago
More info: www.goldcup.org

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black 3Max Muncy doesn’t need to hit another home run into the ocean this week against Madison Bumgarner. Into a seat of blue into the right field pavilion on Thursday might suffice. ESPN will take two of the four games against the Giants, and Fox has one against Colorado on the weekend for those fine tuning their TVs.
For the Angels, a trip to St. Louis marks the first time Albert Pujols has played against the Cardinals since he left the city eight seasons ago. ESPN wants to capture that on the final night of the trip.
How the week lays out this week for the Dodgers, 48-24, 10 ½ up in the  NL West, coming off a 3-3 week that easily could have smelled nicer with a sweep of the Cubs that didn’t happen, and still No. 1 in the ESPN Power Rankings:
* vs. San Francisco at Dodger Stadium: Monday (Tyler Beede vs. Kenta Maeda) at 7:10 p.m.; Tuesday (Shaun Anderson vs. Clayton Kershaw) at 7:10 p.m.; Wednesday (Drew Pomeranz vs. Rich Hill) at 7:10 p.m.; and Thursday (Madison Bumgarner vs. Walker Buehler) at 7:10 p.m., all on SportsNet LA. ESPN has non-black-out coverage on Monday and Wednesday.
* vs. Colorado at Dodger Stadium: Friday (German Marquez vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu) at 7:10 p.m.; Saturday (Peter Lambert vs. Kenta Maeda) at 4:15 p.m., Channel 11; Sunday (Antonio Senzatela vs. Clayton Kershaw) at 1:10 p.m.; all on SportsNet LA except Saturday.

How the week lays out this week for the Angels, still unable to break .500 with a 35-37 mark, 13 back in the AL West, yet moving up from No. 22 to No. 20 in the MLB Power Rankings, perhaps because of winning two against the Dodgers and Shohei Ohtani heating up:
* at Toronto, Monday (Luis Garcia vs. Edwin Jackson) at 4:07 p.m.; Tuesday (Tyler Skaggs vs. Marcus Stroman) at 4:07 p.m.; Wednesday (Andrew Heaney vs. Aaron Sanchez) at 4:07 p.m.; and Thursday (Jose Suarez vs. Clayton Richard) at 4:07 p.m., all on Fox Sports West
* at St. Louis: Friday (Griffin Canning vs. Dakota Hudson) at 5:15 p.m., FSW; Saturday (Felix Pena vs. Miles Mikolas) at 11:15 a.m., FSW; Sunday (Tyler Skaggs vs. Jack Flaherty) at 4 p.m., ESPN.

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black 4The Sparks’ 4-3 start with coach Derek Fisher adds to a clogged-up WNBA Western Conference start. They’re neither poor nor great as they start this week at home vs. Washington (Staples Center, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., CBSSN, Spectrum SportsNet); then go on the road to Seattle (Friday at 7:30 p.m., CBSSN, SSN) and Phoenix (Sunday at 3 p.m.). The team is still sorting out the return of injured star Candace Parker, while Riquna Williams, who scored 25 points in a win over Minnesota recently, is still dealing with a legal issue stemming from an assault case last December that is still pending and caused her to miss a recent contest. The Sparks are coming off a 98-92 home loss to New York on Saturday, which followed an 85-68 win in Phoenix on Friday.

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black 5Santa Anita ends its winter-spring season on the brink with a few high-stakes races on Sunday (first post, 1 p.m.) that include the San Juan Capistrano Stakes and American Stakes.
Expect one more big round of protesting.
Racing then moves to Los Alamitos (June 26-July 16) before the annual trip to Del Mar (July 17-Sept. 3).
It returns to Santa Anita starting Sept. 25 and leading into the Breeders’ Cup in early November. Can’t wait for that. Or can we?

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In the College World Series in Omaha, Neb:
Monday: Arkansas vs. Texas Tech at 11 a.m.; Michigan vs. Florida State at 5 p.m., both on ESPN
Tuesday: Louisville vs. Auburn at 11 a.m.; Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State at 5 p.m.
Wednesday: Winners bracket game, 4 p.m.
Thursday at 5 p.m.; Friday at 4 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. TBD
The best-of-three final is June 24-26.

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

black 1Because it’s Pebble Beach, and Tiger Woods won the last U.S. Open there with an epic, 15-stroke runaway performance, it’s nice to look back at it all 19 years later and remember.
Now, can we move forward?
The 119th U.S. Open may be Woods’ best shot for a 16th career major – and last? – but Brooks Koepka is going for a three-peat in this event, and Rory McIlroy comes off a seven-shot win in Canada, including a 61 in the final round. And Phil Mickelson, who turns 49 on Father’s Day Sunday, the scheduled final round, has to be a factor, having won the PGA Tour event on the course a few months ago. Mickelson is a six-time runner-up at the U.S. Open, most recently in 2013. He is missing this title for a career grand slam.
“There’s not much I could do right now that would do anything to redefine my career, but there’s one thing I could do, and that would be to win a U.S. Open,” Mickelson said. “So if I were to do that, it would change the way I view my career because there are only, what, five guys that have ever won all the majors. And you have to look at those guys differently.
“The difficulty is not the age. The difficulty is that when you’re in your 20s you feel like you have multiple chances. And when you’re turning 49, you’re like ‘I’ve got two more chances, this year and maybe [in 2020 at] Winged Foot [where he finished runner-up in 2006] and that’s about it. With that being the only one in the four that I haven’t won, and what it would offer me and how I look at my career, I put more pressure on it. That’s the difficult thing.
“It would be pretty special to be part of the elite players that have won all four. To me that’s the sign of a complete game. It would redefine my career.”
Mickelson goes off the 10th tee on Thursday at 8:13 a.m. with Graeme McDowell and Dustin Johnson, then at 1:58 p.m. on Friday off the first tee.
Woods, paired with Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose, has tee times of 2:09 p.m. on Thursday at the first tee and 8:24 a.m. on Friday at the 10th tee.
Among the qualifiers is Stewart Hagestad, the 28-year-old USC grad who make his third straight U.S. Open start. The 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion qualified at Newport Beach in a round that included a hole-in-one on the par-3 fourth hole. He was low amateur in the 2017 Masters and was a member of the victorious USA Walker Cup Team later that year. Another member of that Walker Cup team also advanced — Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge, who played at Cal.
The TV schedule:
First and second round, Thursday and Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on FS1; 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Channel 11
Third and final rounds, Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Channel 11
More info: www.usopen.com

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black 2We hoped we could walk away from Hope Solo, but we can’t.
The goal keeper for the U.S. Women’s World Cup team over the last three events, but no longer a roster invitee as the squad prepares for its 2019 event Group F opener against Thailand (Tuesday, noon, Channel 11, Telemundo) and then vs. Chile (Sunday, 9 a.m., Channel 11, Telemundo), inserted herself back into things by saying in a BBC interview last weekend that she doesn’t consider coach Jill Ellis a leader and one who “cracks under the pressure quite a bit. But often that doesn’t matter because the quality of the players on the U.S. team is superb. It doesn’t matter who is coaching us because we will find a way to win. The United States knows how to find a way to win in spite of who the coach is.”
In spite of that, the U.S. team remains a favorite as it looks ahead to its final group game against Sweden (June 19) that leads into:
* Round of 16: June 22-25
* Quarterfinals: June 27-29
* Semifinals: July 2-3
* Final: July 7, 8 a.m.
More info: www.fifa.com/womensworldcup

Also: The CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament begins with the Rose Bowl hosting a Group A doubleheader of Canada vs. Martinque at 4:30 p.m., followed by top-seeded Mexico vs. Cuba at 7 p.m. (both on FS2 and Univision). The second-seeded U.S., winners in 1991, ’02, ’05, ’07 and ’13, begins defense of its ’17 title when it plays its Group D opener against Panama on June 18 in St. Paul, Minn.
Again, looking ahead:
* Quarterfinals: June 29-30 in Houston and Philadelphia
* Semifinals: July 2-3 in Glendale, Ariz., and Nashville
* Final: July 7 in Chicago
More info: www.goldcup.org

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black 3The Angels and Dodgers only get four head-to-head meetings, split up between the two ballparks.
If you’re looking for ways to do inter-league better, these two should have at least a full three games at each park, and another at a neutral site. Let’s say, Long Beach.
Anaheim has the first of the two parties — Monday with Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-1, 1.35) vs. Griffin Canning (2-2, 3.52) and Tuesday with Kenta Maeda (7-2, 3.48) vs. Felix Pena (3-1, 4.53) at 7:07 p.m., SportsNet LA and Fox Sports West.
How the rest of the week lays out this week for the Dodgers, 45-21, 11 games up in the NL West after winning four of six on last week’s road trip (and taking two one-run losses):
* vs. Chicago Cubs, at Dodger Stadium, Thursday (Jon Lester vs. Clayton Kershaw) at 7:10 p.m., SNLA; Friday (Kyle Hendricks vs. Rich Hill) at 7:10 p.m., SNLA; Saturday (Yu Darvish vs. Walker Buehler) at 6:10 p.m., SNLA and Channel 5; Sunday (Jose Quintana vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu) at 4:05 p.m., ESPN
How the rest of the week lays out this week for the Angels, 31-35 and 13 ½ back in the AL West after a 2-4 week at home:
* At Tampa Bay, Thursday (Tyler Skaggs vs. TBD) at 4:10 p.m.; Friday (TBD vs. Blake Snell) at 4:10 p.m.; Saturday (TBD vs. Charlie Morton) at 10:10 a.m.; Sunday (Griffin Canning vs. TBD) at 10:10 a.m., all on Fox Sports West

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black 4You really think it’s over for the Golden State Warriors? The two-time defending champion Warriors?
Facing an elimination game in Canada, and needing to win two of the next possible three on the road?
Kevin Durant didn’t limp after a Sunday workout with the team, a month after suffering a calf injury.
“It’s just a matter of, can you win one basketball game right now?” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “Can you go out tomorrow, play an amazing 48 minutes, quiet this crowd that’s going to be probably unbelievable tomorrow, and slow down a team that’s been playing amazing, especially these last two games, and just win one basketball game and take it from there? And if we focus on that mission, our history kind of speaks for itself in terms of being able to get that done.
“Just win one basketball game, and then we’ll worry about the rest.”
* Game 5: Golden State at Toronto, Monday at 6 p.m., Channel 7
* Game 6: Toronto vs. Golden State at Oakland, Thursday at 6 p.m., Channel 7, if necessary
* Game 7: Golden State at Toronto, Sunday at 5 p.m., Channel 7, if necessary

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black 5A seventh game in the Stanley Cup Final is necessary.
Because the St. Louis Post-Dispatch messed it up.
In a letter published by the paper Sunday, Blues owner Tom Stillman thanked his fans after “the elation of breaking through and bringing St. Louis its first-ever Stanley Cup.”
One problem: The Blues haven’t actually won the Stanley Cup yet. The letter, as well as a few congratulatory advertisements, appeared in the digital edition of the newspaper hours before the team was scheduled to play Game 6.
The ad pages were visible in the subscribers-only E-edition of the paper and were removed. But not before more than a few readers noted them, and they hit social media.
Beth O’Malley, online content coordinator for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, said that “in preparation for the outcome of the Stanley Cup Final, some of our readers got a sneak peek at what our advertisers are hoping to say to the Blues, the fans and St. Louis. We apologize for the sneak peek and hope to share their messages with everyone very soon!”
Sacrebleu.
Series over. In Boston. On Wednesday.
* Game 7: St. Louis at Boston, Wednesday at 5 p.m., Channel 4

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* The WNBA Sparks continue a stretch of playing five of their first six games on the road by heading over to Arizona to face Phoenix (Friday, 7 p.m., CBSSN) before coming back to Staples Center the next night vs. New York (Saturday, 7 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet)
* Without UCLA advancing to the final eight of the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., you’ll need to find a new rooting interest. Give us Vanderbilt and Kumar Rocker, against Michigan, Louisville, Texas Tech, Mississippi State and Florida State (with the winner of Monday’s Auburn-North Carolina and Mississippi-Arkansas super regional decisive games added to the bunch). More info: www.ncaa.com/brackets/baseball

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

black 1As much as UCLA has been dominant in softball and baseball, this week could mark celebration or disappointment.
For the Women’s College World Series, a matchup of No. 2 UCLA (54-6, 8-1 in the postseason) and No. 1 Oklahoma (57-4, 9-2 in the postseason)seemed to best work out on paper, and it did in reality as well, for a best-of-three final in Oklahoma City, Okla., that begins Monday (6:30 p.m., ESPN). It’s the first time in the sport’s history that the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds will meet in the tournament’s last act. Oklahoma is after its third WCWS title in four years and fourth title this decade. None of UCLA’s 12 NCAA titles have come since 2010, and the Bruins lost the 2018 title after losing twice to Florida State. UCLA qualified when Rachel Garcia’s walk-off homer in the 10th beat Washington 3-0 on Sunday. Garcia also threw 179 pitches and struck out 16 to earn the win. The winner Monday has the possible championship game on Tuesday (7:30 p.m., ESPN), with an if-necessary encounter to decide it on Wednesday (7:30 p.m., ESPN).
UCLA defeated Oklahoma, 7-1, in a tournament game in Palm Springs last February in a game where Garcia struck out 15 and gave up just four hits. Garcia (27-1) has pitched in 53 2/3 of UCLA’s 62 postseason innings. Giselle Juarez (28-2) has become the Oklahoma star pitcher. The Sooners’ loss to the Bruins earlier this season came with Mariah Lopez (19-1) on the mound.
More info on the bracket: www.ncaa.com
UPDATED:
No. 1 overall UCLA (51-9), having fended off Loyola Marymount in the regionals, has to grab two out of three against Michigan back at Jackie Robinson Field in order to move onto the final eight at Omaha, Neb.
The schedule:
Game 1: Friday at 6 p.m., ESPN2
Game 2: Saturday at 6 p.m., ESPN2
Game 3: Sunday at 6 p.m., ESPN2 if necessary
More info on the bracket: www.ncaa.com

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

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

black 1What’s your hurry, summer?
This weekend’s triple threat of motorsport madness – the Indianapolis 500, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Monaco Grand Prix – starts the new season with a Memorial Day weekend of fumes and likely some fuming at those who cut drivers off.
The 103rd Indy 500 (Sunday, 9 a.m., Channel 4; prerace at 6 a.m., NBCSN) already has made some weekend news, as the legendary McLaren team missed qualifying then considered trying to buy driver Fernando Alonso, best known as a Formula One champ, a seat in the race. He declined. Simon Pagenaud put his Chevy on the pole position with Ed Carpenter and Spencer Pigot on the front row. Three-time winner Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002, 2009) could join Rick Mears, A.J. Foyt and Al Unser as the only winners of four events. Castroneves starts from the fourth row. Defending champion Will Power, who famously spilled the champion’s milk all over the Indy Race Queen by accident, is in the second row. Pippa Mann, the only woman in the field, is on the 10th row. She failed to qualify last year. NBC also has this for the first time after ABC established this as a Wide World of Sports staple since the mid 1960s.
More info: www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com
NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at Concord, N.C. (Sunday, 3 p.m., Channel 11) can make some news when an Indy 500 driver tries to helicopter over after his morning race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and get to Charlotte Motor Speedway in time to race again– it has its own Wikipedia entry as “Double Duty.” Tony Stewart once was sixth at Indianapolis and third at Charlotte in 2001, completing all 600 laps and 1,100 miles in both events. It was last attempted by Kurt Busch in 2014. No takers this year. Kyle Bush is the defending champ, leading 377 of the 400 laps for his first career win at Charlotte, and the first driver to win a race at every track in the NASCAR Cup series he competed in as well as every track that’s on the current schedule.
More info: www.charlottemotorspeedway.com
The fast and furious day officially begins with the F1’s 77th Grand Prix de Monaco (Sunday, 6 a.m., ESPN; replayed at 12:30 p.m., Channel 7) at the street circuit that runs through the city. Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing went from the pole to the checkered flag last year ahead of Sebastian Vettle and Lewis Hamilton. Alonso started seventh in the McLaren-Renault but had to fall out after 52 laps with a gearbox issue.
More info: www.formula1.com

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

 

black 1The 2019 NBA Draft Lottery is important to whom again?
Oh, right. The Lakers.
For the sixth year in a row.
It happens Tuesday. In Chicago. At 5:30 p.m., on ESPN.
Go on, move along. Nothing left to see.
The percentage of L.A. interest in this reality show may be proportional to the the Lakers’ two percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick, a result of finishing as 11th worst team in the league after the 2017-18 LeBron James Tour ended. The odds increase from 2.2 to 2.4 to 2.8 percent for either the second, third or fourth pick.
Zion Williams isn’t too worried.
Take last year as the most-likely probably: The Lakers had 1.1 percent odds for No. 1, stayed at No. 10, traded it away, and now it’s all some incidental trivia question. This time, Magic Johnson isn’t adding his opinion, so this all apparently lands at the feet of what Linda Rambis wants to do. She could actually be repping the team in person for this thing instead of Kyle Kuzma, but the decision has already been made. Whether or not Frank Vogel and/or Jason Kidd object. Continue reading “05.13.19: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance”