Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
MLB: World Series Game 5: San Francisco at Texas, 4:30 p.m., Channel 11:
Memo to Texas fans: Wearing glasses with facepaint is lame. Especially one game from elimination.
The Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell points out that the Rangers’ Cliff Lee had a 1.26 ERA in eight post-season games over the last two years coming into this World Series. After Game 1, it was up to 11.57. All a blur. “Put that in your MIT baseball simulation formula, make the computer whir through a million permutations and tell me how that changes your seam-head view of who’s going to win this Series,” Boswell wrote. After refusing to bring back Lee for Sunday’s Game 4 – in 227 major league career starts, Lee has never pitched on three day’s rest — Texas manager Ron Washington has him for this one — and perhaps the last one of the Rangers season, back up against Giants ace Tim Lincecum, who might be able to wrap up the series MVP award with another sharp effort.
NBA: Clippers vs. San Antonio, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
Just in case Spurs guard Tony Parker comes to town in hopes of finding a new place to house himself and his TV-star wife whose name escapes us at the moment, Donald T. Sterling has some pertinent information to pass on. Among the latest parcels of ads he’s bought to support the local newspaper economy — this one being an “announcement” that “appears as a matter of record only” — the Clippers owner sends the message that his corporation has $550 million in credit toward the acquisition of property. In three states. Spread out amongst five banks. So, are we supposed to be a) impressed, b) depressed or c) pressed to call for him to now cash in the Clippers and just focus his attention on buying run-down housing projects while pretending to care about who he picks to live in them?
NFL: Houston at Indianapolis, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
Peyton Manning heaved it for 433 yards and three touchdowns against the Texans in the season opener — but Houston won, 34-24, giving it a shot at a rare season sweep over Indy. The importance of Houston’s win means holding the tiebreaker advantage over the Colts, and standing 5-2 when it’s all done. Middle linebacker Brian Cushing, who missed that opening win because of a four-game suspension, will be wearing the sideline audio device in his helmet and making line calls. Good luck with that against Manning.
NBA: Lakers vs. Memphis, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Any unusual reaction this time to O.J. Mayo when he’s introduced before the game? Meanwhile, Pau Gasol’s brother, Marc, has had an ankle problem and might not be up to kicking it tonight.
Documentary: “Marion Jones: Press Pause,” 5 p.m., ESPN:
The John Singleton-directed work shows how the former track star is trying to come back as a long-distance good-doer based on redeeming her past PED usage and lying about it to federal investigators. “She’s the toughest woman I’ve ever been around,” says former Daily News sports columnists Ron Rapoport in the piece, who doesn’t believe that it was the “bad men” in her life that steered her toward the BALCO suppliers. “She knew exactly what she was up to. She was in control.”
Series: “E:60,” 4 p.m., ESPN:
The premise for Lisa Salters’ story is that the Lakers’ Pau Gasol “is the NBA’s least known — but perhaps it’s most intriguing — superstar.: So they spend some time together in his native Barcelona, playing the piano, visiting the opera, reliving the days he thought he’d be a doctor. Interviews with Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson, Kevin Durant and close friend Rafael Nadal also try to confirm that not only is Gasol a Renaissance Man, but he hasn’t gone soft.
MLB: World Series Game 6: Texas at San Francisco, 4:30 p.m., Channel 11:
Who thought there’d be a chance for ball retrevals in McCovey Cove in November this year?
NBA: Lakers at Sacramento, 7:30 p.m., Channel 9, ESPN:
A day after a small margin of Californians pick a new (and possibly old) governor to sit in charge in Sacramento, the real Kings of the state capitol have their own agenda. DeMarcus Cousins has a shot at giving the Kings back-to-back Rookies of the Year, following Tyreke Evans. Start the campaign now.
NBA: Clippers vs. Oklahoma City, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
The first official L.A. revisit of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Thunder, who are a respectable 14-to-1 odds to win the NBA title. Play the Clippers every night, and it goes to 1-to-5.
NHL: Ducks vs. Tampa Bay, Honda Center, 7 p.m,. FSW:
Did you know: The Ducks have a Ladies Ducks team? Last week, high-school senior Alison Pankowski (right) committed to Princeton next fall and will compete in the ECAC and the Ivy League for the Tigers’ women’s team. She’s been with Lady Ducks since age 8. This comes after high school junior Kaliya Johnson, another Lady Duck since 8, made an early committment to play for Boston College in 2012.
College basketball: UCLA vs. Westmont College, Pauley Pavilion, 7:30 p.m., BruinTV.com:
This one against the little school from Santa Barbara counts in the standings?
MLB: World Series Game 7: Texas at San Francisco, 4:30 p.m., Channel 11:
Thanks to the game-winning RBI by Atlanta’s Brian McCann at the ’10 All Star Game in Anaheim, the Giants have the right to play this last one at home. If it gets this far.
NHL: Kings vs. Tampa Bay, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Lightning strike twice: Thursday in Anaheim, today in downtown L.A., and, with the best record in the Eastern Conference, going up against the best, so far, in the West.
Horse racing: Hollywood Park Autumn Meet, 7 p.m.:
Four days after the close of the Oak Tree meet at Hollywood Park, they’re back in business for a 31-day meet (through Dec. 19) with a night event in Inglewood. Just in time for early-bird betting on the Breeders’ Cup.
NHL: Ducks vs. Pittsburgh, Honda Center, 7 p.m., KDOC:
When Sidney Crosby comes to town, the measuring sticks come out. “On our last road trip, judging from some of the other coaches’ comments and some of the other media going in, we’re still playing games where the other team is using it as a measuring stick,” said Pittsburgh coach and former Kings player Dan Bylsma. “Nashville … St. Louis used those words before the game and in the media. Tampa Bay, their coach said it before that game. That’s why the pace and intensity of those games were really high and really good hockey games.” Pace yourselves, Duckies. This will have to do as your Winter Classic. The Pens skip the Kings and move over to play Phoenix before going home in their only trip to this time zone all season.
Horse racing: Breeders’ Cup Day 1, 1 p.m., ESPN2:
It’s warm-up day, with the first six races of the weekend going off: The $500,000 Marathon (1:10 p.m.), $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf (1:50 p.m.), $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint (2:30 p.m.), $2 million Filly & Mare Turf (3:10 p.m.), $2 million Juvenile Fillies (3:50 p.m.), and $2 million Ladies’ Classic (4:30 p.m.).
NBA: Lakers vs. Toronto, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Kids today must think the Raptors were named after a group of rappers instead of dinosaurs. Which are about as extinct around Toronto these days as Chris Bosh.
NBA: Clippers at Denver, 7:30 p.m., Prime, ESPN:
No guarantee Carmelo Anthony will still be satisfied with his status on George Karl’s squad this deep into the season.
Horse racing: Breeders Cup Day 2, 10:30 a.m., Channel 7; 12:30 p.m., ESPN:
On the BreedersCup.com website, it says: “With every gallop, her legend grows. With every race, she stays perfect. And with every incredible victory, she transcends the sport of racing.” With every adjective, Zenyatta’s chances to repeat in the $5 million Classic seem to be all the more suffocating. If it’s our last chance to give a hand to Zenyatta, the horse that stands 17.2 hands tall, we can deal with it. But the fact that because of ABC’s college football commitment, the great race of the day is delegated to ESPN — the $5 million Classic, at 3:45 p.m. — is missing something big here. Zenyatta’s attempt to reclaim the Classic and finish 20-for-20 makes for as compelling TV as you can muster on a pigskin Saturday. ABC has the first three: The $1 million Juvenile Turf (10:50 a.m.), $2 million Sprint (11:30 a.m.) and $1 million Turf Sprint (12:15 p.m.). Switching to ESPN, the $2 million Juvenile (12:55 p.m.), $2 million Mile (1:40 p.m.), $1 million Dirt Mile (2:20 p.m.) and $3 million Turf (3 p.m.) lead into the Classic.
College football: UCLA vs. Oregon State, Rose Bowl, 4 p.m., Versus:
In a crazy game on Halloween a year ago in Corvallis, the Bruins came back from a 19-3 fourth-quarter deficit to tie it up with 2:06 left, only to see them Rodgers kids come back to haunt them.
College football: USC vs. Arizona State, Coliseum, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
Not counting a victory they had to vacate in the ’05 season, the Trojans have a 10-year winning streak against the Sun Devils, outscoring them 360-174. And including a 50-0 win at ASU in ’88, USC has gone 15-4 in the last 19 meetings. Last year? A mere 14-9 triumph.
College football: Texas Christian at Utah, 12:30 p.m., CBS College Sports:
The BCS’ No. 3 team plays the No. 5 team, both undefeated. On a network that’s now offering a free preview with a bunch of cable systems. Otherwise, it’s on DirecTV Channel 613, Dish’s Channel 152 and a couple of other cable companies that we’re not even sure where to find ‘em.
NHL: Kings vs. Nashville, Staples Center, 7 p.m., Channel 13:
A new Kings’ TV deal sticks this one over on the network that’s more popular on this night for showing back-to-back reruns of “House,” “That ’70s Show” and “The Unit.”
NBA: Clippers at Utah, 6 p.m., FSW:
Someone fill in Blake Griffin about how the locals in Salt Lake City really think they’re high and mighty.
College basketball: USC vs. Point Loma Nazarene, Galen Center, 2 p.m., USCTrojans.com:
We understand the little Christian school in San Diego has a great nursing program.
NBA: Lakers vs. Portland, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., FSW:
You bring $24.95 to Staples Center an hour before tipoff, and Jeanie Buss will scribble her name into copies of her new book, “Laker Girl: From Pickfair to Playboy to the Purple and Gold,” possibly dotting the “i” in her first name with a tiny heart. The book publishers say this is “the never-before-told story of the Buss family and of one woman’s rise to the top in a man’s world. It is also a behind-the-scenes journal of the 2009-10 Lakers season, a year in which the franchise captured its 16th world championship.” Phil Jackson has written the forward. But will he someday write the final chapter?
NHL: Ducks vs. Nashville, Honda Center, 5 p.m., Prime:
It’s on the schedule. It must be played.
NFL: Dallas at Green Bay, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4:
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after watching his team lose to Jacksonville: “I’m dumbfounded that we are 1-7. I thought we had one of the top competitive teams in the NFL. I’m very, very sorry to our fans.” Uh, Jer, you’re only 1-6. Maybe he’s already figured this one is done. And maybe he should check with his accountants on what he actually spent to build Cowboys Stadium for the upcoming Super Bowl.
NFL: Indianapolis at Philadelphia or Kansas City at Oakland, 1 p.m., Channel 2:
The Raiders failed to sell out last week’s game. What makes you think this one will matter to them?
Running: New York City Marathon, 6 a.m., UniversalSports.com; 11 a.m., Channel 4:
It definitely beats a six-hour “Jersey Shore” Labor Day marathon on MTV. According to the official website, this year’s group of “celebrity” runners include “Today” show weatherman Al Roker, chef Bobby Flay, CBS “Survivor” star Ethan Zohn, Howard Stern sidekick Robin Quivers and Subway sandwich guy Jared Fogle.
MLS playoffs: Western Conference semifinal Game 2: Galaxy vs. Seattle, Home Depot Center, 6 p.m., ESPN2:
The Galaxy saw how much noise that 36,000 can make in Seattle. Can 27,000 in Carson duplicate that? And pardon our MLS ignorance, but why are the Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes, who finished fifth and sixth in the Western Conference, playing in the Eastern Conference playoffs?