Play it forward: Aug. 2-8 on your sports calendar

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

MONDAY

MLB: Dodgers vs. San Diego, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:

The Padres can’t help but be salivating to play these next four against a Dodger team that combined for five runs and 12 hits in losing two out of three last week in San Diego. Realistically, the Dodgers need to win three of these next four just to make a slight dent in the standings. A four-game sweep? Now’s the time to consider it a must-do situation. And they’ll have to try to do it again without Clayton Kershaw, who misses this stretch having pitched Sunday. This is a rematch of starters from last Wednesday’s game, when Clayton Richard shut them down on one run over six innings, while striking out six in a 6-1 victory over Hiroki Kuroda. Expect to see, and learn to spell, Podsednik, Dotel and Theriot on your scorecard.

TUESDAY

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“Shaq Vs.,” Channel 7, 9 p.m.:

Shaquille O’Neal may not be back in the NBA after this summer, but his border-line reality show for ABC has returned for a second go-around. In episode one, he tries to race against NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr., in Concord, N.J. Later, he’ll compete against the Spelling Bee champ, cook off against Rachel Ray and … you’re really interested in taking this item past the first sentence?

Swimming: U.S. National Championships, Irvine, prelims start at 7:30 a.m.; finals start at 4:30 p.m., Universal Sports TV:

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We’ll float Michael Phelps, Katie Hoff, Amanda Beard and Ryan Lochte past you to see if you’re interested in a local swim meet that has meaning to many in the Speedo community.

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The event at the local aqua marine center runs through Saturday, with NBC on hand to carry the final events on the weekend.

MLB: Dodgers vs. San Diego, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Channel 9:

Documentary producer Ken Burns will throw out a ceremonial first pitch, and Ted Lilly will make the real first pitch for the Dodgers. Burns can document it.

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MLB: Angels at Baltimore, 4 p.m., FSW:

The Orioles pick this start of a three-game series against the Angels to show off their new manager, Buck Showalter, who replaces interim skipper Juan Samuel, who replaced fired manager Dave Trembley. Who may have once met Earl Weaver, but we’re not sure. Showalter, vegging out at ESPN since last fired as a big-league manager, takes over the team with the worst record in either league. The two-time AL Manager of the Year (in ’94 with the Yankees and in ’04 with the Rangers) has a 882-833 record over 11 years, and a reputation for having patience with younger players.

WEDNESDAY

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MLB: Dodgers vs. San Diego, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:

Beach towels to the first 30,000 who show up to this one. Because summer’s almost over. And this is a night game.

MLB: Angels at Baltimore, 4 p.m., FSW:

So the Orioles didn’t need Miguel Tejada again, and they let the Padres have him? The Dodgers don’t thank you.

Soccer: Galaxy at Puerto Rico, 5 p.m.

More CONCACAF shenanagins. When these two met awkwardly at Home Depot Center last Wednesday, the Puerto Rican team handed the disinterested Galaxy a 4-1 loss. Expect even worse this time on P.R. island soil, especially with a bigger game coming up Saturday.

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

Seriously, the Sparks (8-17, but 5-6 at home) are in position to qualify for the playoffs? Ah, the beauty of the WNBA.

THURSDAY

MLB: Dodgers vs. San Diego, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:

Two more series to make sure the Padres are in charge to go to the playoffs: Sept 6-8 in San Diego, and Sept. 21-23 at Dodger Stadium. Got any extra blankets from Wednesday night to wrap those games up in?

MLB: Angels at Baltimore, 4 p.m., FSW:

Remember that day when the Angels’ Nolan Ryan threw a no-hitter against the Orioles — June 1, 1975 — and the only run scored in a 1-0 victory came when the Angels’ clean-up hitter, Dave Chalk, drove in Mickey Rivers? And the O’s team included Bobby Grich, Don Baylor, Brooks Robinson and Ken Singleton?

FRIDAY

MLB: Dodgers vs. Washington, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:

If you’ve traded up to get tickets for this game in hopes of seeing the Nationals send Ross Detwiler, Scott Olsen, J.D. Martin, Craig Stammen or Livan Hernandez to the mound to face the Dodgers, you may be in luck. Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to come off the 15-day disabled list and could hook up with Clayton Kershaw if the stars align. Because the Dodgers don’t otherwise anticipate a sellout, they’re also giving away Matt Kemp posters to anyone who cares to take one at the gate.

MLB: Angels at Detroit, 4 p.m., FSW:

A three-game series in Motown, with the Tigers trying to recover from Magglio Ordonez’ nasty injury, could give the Angels and Dan Haren a lift as he’s set to open this one.

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

One more L.A. appearance for Marion Jones and the Shock. She actually scored in doulbe figures in her last SoCal game — a season high.

SATURDAY

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Soccer: Galaxy vs. Real Madrid, Rose Bowl, 7:30 p.m., FSC:

Kaka and Ronaldo Cristiano against Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle, with tickets starting at $30 (and up to $250), and David Beckham just an interested spectator unless he and the family are on holiday somewhere else. You Madrid fans, you’re stuck in Section 8, rows H-L, over the corner.

MLB: Dodgers vs. Washington, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:

This was the day the Dodgers were scheduled to hold Hollywood Stars Night, but it’s been pushed back to Oct. 2. Just as well. August Sweeps aren’t that popular. Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ Dream Foundation’s annual baseball equipment drive starts today and ends Sunday, asking fans who come to the game to drop off new and used baseball and softball bats, balls and gloves that will be donated to the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation & Parks to be used in programs for 20,000 kids in the community.

MLB: Angels at Detroit, 4 p.m., FSW:

We’re reminded of the quote earlier this year from Tigers manager Jim Leland, when asked where he thought LeBron James might decide to play next year. “I don’t care,” he said. “I care more about Shaq. Seriously.” Today, he can watch a re-run of that “Shaq Vs.” show on ABC. If he’s not busy taking a drag on a heater.

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Horse racing: Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar:

Zenyatta’s pint glass may be neither half full nor half empty. Decision-makers for the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic champ will decide by Wednesday if she’s going to put her 17-race winning streak on the line here. It depends on how she reacts to the conditions of the new Del Mar track surface. Either way, they’re having a pint-glass giveaway with her photo on it. Free with each paid admission. While supplies last. And everyone’s nerves are shot. The 6-year-old mare, training at Hollywood Park, has won this race the last two years. She hasn’t started since she won the Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 13.

NFL: Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions at Canton, Ohio, 4 p.m., ESPN, NFL Network:

Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little and John Randle now get to wear those Century 21 real estate jackets.

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Mixed martial arts: UFC 117, in Oakland:

Anderson “The Spider” Silva, the long-time middleweight title holder, upset boss Dana White after his April 10 victory by first taunting, then failing to engage in battle during a decision victory over last-minute replacement Demian Maia. “I’m telling you right now, if he acts like that again in the ring, I will cut him,” said White. “I don’t care if he’s the pound for pound best fighter in the world. I don’t care if he’s the middleweight champion.” We don’t care that he’s won his last 12 acts of pugilism in a row. We’re just afraid of spider bites.

SUNDAY

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NFL: Hall of Fame Game: Cincinnati vs. Dallas at Canton, Ohio, 5 p.m., Channel 4:

An exhibition contest to start the NFL 2010 season, featuring Terrell Owens playing for the Bengals against America’s Team. It goes up against the Yankees-Red Sox game from Yankee Stadium on ESPN. Will you be able to tune out T.O.?

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MLB: Dodgers vs. Washington, Dodger Stadium, 1 p.m., Prime:

Prof surfer and Los Angeles native Anastasia Ashley is scheduled to throw out the first pitch. Who gets to escort her to Bleacher Beach afterward?

MLB: Angels at Detroit, 10 a.m., Channel 13:

Remember the game when the Angels’ Nolan Ryan pitched a no-hitter in Detroit — July 15, 1973 — and Norm Cash came up to the plate in the ninth with a piano leg? Not so. It was the leg of a table from the club house. Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell called it a piano leg, which stuck with the legacy of the story. Ryan struck out 17 freakin’ batters. And with the 6-0 victory, he improved his record to, gulp, 11-11.

WNBA: Sparks vs. San Antonio, Staples Center, 5 p.m., FSW.:

Any X Games stuff left laying around — like a trampoline?

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