Play it foward: June 28-July 4 on your sports calendar


Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:



College World Series final, Game 1: UCLA vs. South Carolina, 4:30 p.m., ESPN:

Uh, coach, my strike zone is up here … Oh, my, Omaha: A UCLA-USC best-of-three matchup for the title must make Erin Andrews feel like she’s back at Williamsport talking to 12-year-olds with mustaches. FYI to EA: UCLA coach John Savage has the Hollywood connections. Andrews’ contract with ESPN ends on July 1, so she’ll have LeBron James status in the TV world after this assignment. “I’m in a situation where I’m not talking to people about that,” Andrews said earlier in the CWS. Pitching has got the Bruins this far, but defensive gems, like this one by center fielder Beau Amaral in Friday’s game against TCU, make a huge difference now. Game 2 is Tuesday, and a tie-breaking Game 3 is Wednesday. With Mike Patrick, Orel Hershiser, Robin Ventura, Erin Andrews and Kyle Peterson. And no more Nomar Garciaparra. Game 2 is Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., and a tie-breaking Game 3 is Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

MLB: Dodgers at San Francisco, 7:15 p.m., Channel 9:

Now that all that drama’s over — Dodgers-Red Sox, Dodgers-Angels, Dodgers-Yankees — we dial it down a notch with one of the greatest rivalries in all of baseball. The Dodgers took two out of three against San Francisco back in April, losing 9-0 to Tim Lincecom, who’s missing this series. The Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley, out since June 12 with a strained groin, should be ready to retake his spot in the rotation, facing Barry Zito.

MLB: Washington at Atlanta, 4 p.m., ESPN2:

Yup, it’s Strasburg. Or as they now say in D.C., Stras-mas.



MLB: Angels vs. Texas, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:

The crowd reaction in the top of the first upon seeing Big Daddy Vladdy Guerrero in a Rangers uniform? Ask us again in a couple of weeks when he’s representing Texas in the All-Star Game at Angel Stadium.

MLB: Dodgers at San Francisco, 7:15 p.m., Channel 9:

Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff, both rejected by Tampa Bay, have been recent pickups by the Giants in a quest to inject some offense into their lineup. And it’s worked. Check the standings.

FIFA World Cup: Paraguay vs. Japan, 7 a.m., ESPN; Spain vs. Portugal, 11:30 a.m., ESPN:

We miss the 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls and the trips to the fridge for the Heineken-and-rum mixed drinks we invented by accident. Not really.

WNBA: Sparks vs. New York, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:

Just another opportunity for L.A. major Villaraigosa to take advantage of free Staples Center tickets. There’s a seat on the bench next to the injured Candace Parker with his name on it.


MLB: Angels vs. Texas, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:

It’s Joe Saunders bobblehead night, but his turn in the rotation isn’t until the next series against K.C.


MLB: Dodgers at San Francisco, 12:45 p.m., Prime:

The other night on “Jeopardy!,” the $1,200 clue, under the category “It’s in Argentina,” the answer: “Any very large person, like pitcher Ed Halicki.” The trick is to create a word from scrambling the letters around in the word “Argentina.” A contestant buzzes in: “What is a Giant?” Of course, but not just because was 6-foot-7 and went 53-65 for San Francisco from 1973-80 before finishing with the Angels. He also threw a no-hitter for the Giants in 1975. It was the last Giants’ franchise no-no until Jonathan Sanchez threw one last July. Long story longer, Sanchez throws against the Dodgers today. Meanwhile, Dodgers starter Vicente Padilla has an 11-4 mark in 22 games when pitching in the daytime since the start of the 2007 season.


MLB: Angels vs. Texas, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:

By this date, Nolan Ryan may find out if he’s able to buy the Rangers. Why not. When he pitched for the Angels, he owned them anyway.

WNBA: Sparks vs. San Antonio, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.:

Thanks, but no thanks.



FIFA World Cup: Ghana vs. Uruguay, 11:30 a.m., ESPN:

“The hardest thing in soccer is to score a goal,” ESPN analyst John Harkes mentioned during overtime in last Saturday’s U.S.-Ghana knockout contest. Less than a minute later, a fast guy with a red shirt split the defense and blasted the ball past American goalie Tim Howard to put the African nation into the next round. Can the U.S. and South Korea play their way back through the loser’s bracket?

MLB: Dodgers at Arizona, 6:40 p.m., Prime:

Get to the D-backs bullpen, and any team has a fighting chance. Edwin Jackson, who threw a no-hitter last week against Tampa Bay, won’t mark an apparence in this series.

MLB: Angels vs. Kansas City, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m. FSW:

A three-game set with the Royals really isn’t getting us pumped up. We’ll try. This is really where you need a Rex Hudler to help sell it.

WNBA: Sparks vs. Seattle, Staples Center, 2 p.m., ESPN2:

A daylight game seems nice, but not indoors on Fourth of July weekend. This one begs for natural lighting.



Cycling: Tour de France, 8:30 a.m., Versus:

You’re still the man, Lance. No you are. No you are. Day 1 of 23, from Rotterdam, Netherlands, it’s the 97th edition of the great bike race. Armstrong, perhaps able to pick up his eighth victory, is really using this as a training run for the New York Marathon.


Wimbledon: Women’s final, 6 a.m., Channel 4:

Having seen defending champ Serena Williams skim past Maria Sharapova in the fourth round, we like what we’re looking at to see her back in the title match.

FIFA World Cup: Argentina vs. Germany, 7 a.m., ESPN; Paraguay/Japan vs. Spain/Portugal, 11:30 a.m., ESPN:

The refs will decide these. Sorry, just a hunch.

NASCAR: Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, 4:30 p.m., TNT:

Danica Patrick’s chance to make an impact here? Zero.

MLS: Chivas USA vs. Philadelphia, Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m.:

They give Chivas a Saturday night game for their own fireworks show. Appropriately against Philly.

MLB: Dodgers at Arizona, 6:40 p.m., Prime; Angels vs. Kansas City, Angel Stadium, 6 p.m., Channel 13:

Since when should a couple of baseball games be listed so low on the schedule on a Fourth of July weekend? Too much other stuff apparently.



Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, 9 a.m., ESPN:


What did we learn from the 2009 event over at Coney Island? You are what you eat. Three-time champ Joey Chestnut isn’t dogging it. He inhaled a record 68 in 10 minutes, 3 1/2 more than former six-time champ Kobayashi. Overlooked in this whole mess: Someone named Patrick Bertoletti fired down 55 — in years consumed 55, which prior to 2007, would have given him the victory. That’s how far Chestnut and Kobayashi have raised the barf, er, bar. If you miss it live, it’s regurgitated, er, repeated, at 10 a.m.

MLB: All Star selection, 9 a.m., TBS:

Andre Either supporters have it Tivo’d. Same for Strasburg.

MLB: Dodgers at Arizona, 1:10 p.m., Channel 9:

Does Billingsley have enough to make two quality starts in one week? Both on the road?

MLB: Angels vs. Kansas City, Angel Stadium, 5:15 p.m., ESPN:

A prime-time slot for the Angels before they’re sent away again (four in Chicago, three in Oakland) as workers prep the park for the upcoming All-Star Game. And no U2 interruptions.

Wimbledon: Men’s final, 6 a.m., Channel 4:

Everything equal, we’d rather watch John Isner and Nicolas Mahut fight it out on Centre Court. With Andy Roddick supplying the orange slices on changeovers.

MLS: Galaxy vs. Seattle, Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m.:

At least Donovan and Buddle should be on hand for the annual Galaxy fireworks show. We’ll take a Piccolo Pete, a couple boxes of sparklers and a Golden Shower. Here’s our coupon.

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