Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
MLB: ALCS Game 3: Texas at N.Y. Yankees, 5 p.m., TBS:
As the series shifts back to New York, this would be the perfect time for the Yankees to have Roger Clemens throw out the honorary first pitch — then hand the ball to Andy Pettitte, standing behind him near the mound. Awkward? It’s a moment that might make George Steinbrenner roll over in his monument. Unfortunately for the Yankees, the Rangers’ Cliff Lee will cause more problems. He comes back into play after some ALDS Game 5 rest. Lee, two stops ago as a member of the Phillies, dominated the Yankees in last year’s World Series. In Game 1 at Yankee Stadium, he was the first starting pitcher to throw a complete game without giving up an earned run against the Yankees in opening game of a postseason series, striking out 10. Lee came back to win Game 5. All Pettitte did was win Game 3 and decisive Game 6 winner. The beauty of all this scenario: In the offseason, Lee is a free agent. Again. And the Yankees desperately want him. “I don’t think I’m going to have to do much recruiting,” said current Yankees ace CC Sabathia. “He knows what it’s like over here. I’ve talked to him a bunch.” Meaning, by 2011, Lee will have been employed by five teams in less than three years, and possibly have been to two World Series in between.
NFL: Tennessee at Jacksonville, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
Those Jags off in Jacksonville are still among the first teams mentioned when there’s talk of moving someone to L.A., especially after having seven of their eight home games blacked out last season for failing to sell out before the 72-hour deadline. On Friday, they still hadn’t sold the last 2,000 tickets for this one against their division rival. Somehow, they disappeared over the weekend, now the game’s on. And the Jags squad will tumble for you.
MLB: NLCS Game 3: Philadelphia at San Francisco, 1 p.m., Channel 11:
Who’s the bigger boob, the one who thinks it’s been chilly in Philly for the first two games of the series, or the one who think’s it’ll warm up once you hit the sunshine of San Francisco in autumn. Cole Hammels, the second “H” in the H20 Phillies’ rotation, might be even colder standing on the mound with all those warmed-up Giants fans so excited just to be there and having an excuse to not work. He’ll have plenty of support.
MLB: ALCS Game 4: Texas at N.Y. Yankees, 5 p.m., TBS:
The Yankees have so much faith in A.J. Burnett, they’ll let him pitch tonight, only because it’s a seven-game series, and they need to give Sabathia another day to rest up. The Rangers’ Tommy Hunter is supposed to be the other pitcher in this non-marquee matchup.
NBA exhibition: Lakers vs. Utah at Anaheim Honda Center, 7 p.m., Channel 9:
As long as the Ducks are out of town again, let’s try to sell the O.C. on NBA basketball again with a game that has no meaning in the grand scheme of things, but will induce a good number of people to actualy buy tickets. Why not just rent “Orange County” on Netflix and call it even.
NBA exhibition: Clippers vs. Sacramento, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m. Prime:
In all honesty, the Lakers should be performing their layup lines here, and the Clips should be in Anaheim. If you really want to make things fair.
Golf: PGA Grand Slam of Golf, 1 p.m., TNT:
You’ve got a reunion of the four guys who won the four Grand Slam events this year. Except, Masters champ Phil Mickelson said his psoriatic arthritis is flaring up, so Ernie Els will replace him. And British Open champ Louis Oosthuizen says he can’t make it because he trashed ligaments on the outside of his left ankle, so David Toms is replacing him. U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, and PGA Championship Martin Kaymer of Germany say they’ll be there. Where is there? The Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda. Oh, and Ernie Johnson, who has called this event for many years on TNT, won’t be there, either. He’s doing the ALCS. The final go-round is Wednesday from 3-6 p.m.
NHL: Kings vs. Carolina, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
It took the Hurricanes until December 7 to win their first road game last season. They lost their first 13 away games. Then they opened this season stopping Minnesota 4-3. In Helsinki. Hollywood may look just as good.
NHL: Ducks at Columbus, 4 p.m., Prime:
Columbus’ day was over weeks ago.
MLB: ALCS Game 5: Texas at N.Y. Yankees, 1 p.m., TBS:
C.C. Sabathia was 8-3 in day games this year with a 2.67 ERA, and is 44-26 lifetime in the sun (3.20). He’s also 11-2 in Yankee Stadium this season.
MLB: NLCS Game 4: Philadelphia at San Francisco, 4:30 p.m., Channel 11:
Joe Blanton still pitches for the Phillies, but doesn’t fit into the team’s new marketing plan. He may not even make this start if Halladay has a say and the Phillies are desperate.
College football: UCLA at Oregon, 6 p.m., ESPN:
In preparation for the nation’s No. 2 team in new BCS rankings, Bruins head coach Rick Neuheisel has suspended kick returner Josh Smith (second in the conference in kickoff return yardage with 383 yards and sixth in yards per return with 27.4), and F-back Morrell Presley, a key part of the Pistol offense, for tonight’s game before a failed drug test. That’s it? What’s the big dealio. It’s not like they used a handicap placard or anything. Whatever confusing uniforms the Ducks of Oregon wear tonight will be enough to mess with the Bruins’ heads in this nationally-televised battle. But then, that’s what they said about UCLA going to Texas.
NHL: Kings at Phoenix, 7 p.m., FSW:
The city of Glendale, Ariz., says it finally reached a deal with investor Matt Hulsizer that will pave the way for him to buy the team and keep it anchored in the desert. Glendale set a Dec. 31 deadline to find a buyer or else the NHL would listen to offers to move the team, with Winnipeg widely seen as a front-runner to get its franchise back. And no one wants to be making roadies to Winnipeg again. Hulsizer is being asked to pay $165 million, apparently after having misplaced his discount coupon.
NBA exhibition: Lakers vs. Golden State in San Diego, 7 p.m., Channel 9:
The Warriors will feeling like the Globetrotters’ version of the Washington Generals by the time this week is over.
NHL: Ducks at Philadelphia, 4 p.m., Prime:
The chances that the Ducks can pull their record up to .500 after this one?
MLB: NLCS Game 5: Philadelphia at San Francisco, 4:30 p.m., Channel 11:
It could be a rematch of Game 1. For fun.
MLB: ALCS Game 6: N.Y. Yankees at Texas, 5 p.m., TBS:
Back in Texas on a high-school football Friday, prepare to see some empty saddles.
NCAA women’s soccer: UCLA vs. USC, Coliseum, 7 p.m.:
They’re promoting this as a chance for the Women of Troy to break an attendance record by playing their rivals at the cavernous Coliseum. They say they need more than 15,000. And the first 2,500 get a free scarf. Someone better bring a table soccer game for halftime.
NBA exhibition: Lakers vs. Golden State at Ontario, 7 p.m., Channel 9, ESPN:
They’ve been to London, Barcelona, and now, the Ontario that’s not in Canada. At least this marks the final Lakers’ final practice game. Barnes, you know the Triangle by now?
Mixed martial arts: UFC 121, Honda Center, 5:20 p.m.
In the fourth UFC event ever held in Anaheim (after Nos. 59, 63 and 76), the headline bout is current “baddest man on the planet,” heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar, taking on unbeaten challenger Cain Velasquez. Former champ Tito Ortiz is on the undercard. Forrest Griffin? Dang, the top-ranked light-heavyweight is still hurt, and they tell us he’s not expected to come back from a shoulder injury until early next year, when he’ll likely take on UFC middleweight champ Rich Frankin in UFC 126. That said, pick up Griffin’s new-ish book, “Be Ready When the Sh*t Goes Down: A Survival Guide to the Apocalypse” (linked here). You’ll laugh. You’ll laugh. You’ll laugh some more.
NHL: Kings at Colorado, 5 p.m., FSW:
The game will not be shown on the Staples Center jumboscreen. The joint is booked for a Shakira concert.
NHL: Ducks at Detroit, 4 p.m., KDOC:
The Red Wings already have a 4-0 win over the Ducks, back on opening night. They really have to meet again so soon?
MLB: NLCS Game 6: San Francisco at Philadelphia, 12:30 p.m., Channel 11:
Giants’ scheduled starter, Jonathan Sanchez, already has beaten Roy Halladay and Cole Hammels in matchups during the regular season.
MLB: ALCS Game 7: N.Y. Yankees at Texas, 5 p.m., TBS:
Look up the performances of Jeter, Posada and Riviera in Game 7s over the years. This deep into the series, if it does go this far, can’t be friendly for the Rangers.
College basketball exhibition: USC men’s Cardinal and Gold game, Galen Center, 12:30 p.m.:
It beats shirts vs. skins.
MLB: NLCS Game 7: San Francisco at Philadelphia, 4:30 p.m., Channel 11:
If the series gets this far, Giants reliever Brian Wilson will be in position to be the series MVP.
MLS: Galaxy vs. FC Dallas, Home Depot Center, 5 p.m., FSW:
Your Galaxy, a runner-up last year for the coveted Supporters’ Shield, can still clinch it with a win in this regular-season finale. A loss here, combined with a Real Salt Lake win or tie against Colorado on Saturday, means the Galaxy would fall to second in the Western Conference and have to play Dallas again in the playoff opener. “We are bummed out,” Landon Donovan said after the Galaxy’s 3-1 loss to Colorado on Saturday, “but we still control our own destiny and next week means everything.”
NFL: New England at San Diego, 1:15 p.m., Channel 2:
You’d think a Tom Brady sighting would help the Chargers sell this one out. If not, CBS always at Oakland at Denver in this time slot to fall back on.
NFL: Minnesota at Green Bay, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4:
Maybe there’ll be some new evidence about Brett Favre texting Faith Hill, as played by Jayne Lynch.