Play it forward: April 11-17 on your L.A. sports calendar

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



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

These are the T-shirts they’re now selling in the Dodger Stadium stores — see how easy it is to make the “LA” logo with your index finger and thumb on each hand. Very cute. As long as it’s not interpreted as some kind of gang symbol, right? As they take up a collection in the Dodger Stadium parking lot today for the family of badly beaten Giants fan Bryan Stow, the Dodgers expect to encounter some nastiness on their first trip into AT&T Park, having somehow won three of the four against the defending World Series winners last weekend. Clayton Kershaw pitches tonight, and Chad Billingsley takes on Tim Lincecum on Tuesday night (7 p.m., Channel 9). The series ends on Wednesday (7 p.m., Prime.)

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


The Indians have won seven in a row, including a sweep in Seattle coming into this series, but the Angels send Dan Haren (2-0) out to slow them down. Cleveland is also 4-1 against left-handed starters and batting .333 versus left-handed pitching, and they’ll face another lefty in the Angels’ Tokyo-born Hisanori Takahashi, who draws the start on Tuesday (7 p.m., Prime, when it’s also a 50th anniversary blanket giveaway). The series ends with a 4 p.m. game Wednesday (Channel 13).

MLB: Tampa Bay at Boston, ESPN, 4 p.m.:

Manny Ramirez’s return to Fenway is upstaged again … by his own retirement.


NBA: Lakers vs. San Antonio, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

A play-it-safe affair, unless the Lakers are worried that Dallas may catch them for second-best in the Western Conference. How urgent are the Lakers to win anymore?


Series: “Sports Show with Norm Macdonald,” Comedy Central, 7:30 p.m.:

Macdonald, the former “Saturday Night Live” host of “Weekend Update,” told the New York Times recently: “Jon Stewart can do ‘The Daily Show,’ and since network news is so ridiculous and horrible, he can parody that. On the other hand, (ESPN) ‘SportsCenter’ is a really cool show and really fun, and already ironic, so to parody that is the complete wrong thing to do.” You mean, like Comedy Central’s “Onion SportsDome” has tried to do? Macdonald puts his dry wit to some use in this sports-related vehicle. He’ll do well on this show as long as he’s given time to make it work. “Or so the Germans will have you believe,” as he might add.



NHL playoffs: Ducks vs. Nashville, Honda Center, Game 1, 7:30 p.m.:

The Predators had a 3-1-0 record against the Ducks during the regular season, but will the line of Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf be up to the challenge? “When you think about Anaheim you think about the big line. That’s where it starts and ends,” Predators Coach Barry Trotz said Sunday. Game 2 is at Honda Center on Friday at 7:30 p.m., while Game 3 goes to Nashville on Sunday.


NBA: Lakers at Sacramento, 7:30 p.m., Channel 9:

From all signs, it’s the end of a couple a things – the Lakers’ regular season, and the Kings’ occupancy of Sacramento. What if, after they move to Anaheim, they still play a few games in our state capital. Call ’em the Sacramento-Anaheim Royals. No? Then Marissa Miller will have to take off the body paint. Or, maybe not.

NBA: Clippers vs. Memphis, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

One last dunkfest for Blake Griffin before he’s shelved for the summer.

MLS: Galaxy at Toronto, 5 p.m.:

Are the Galaxy players still whining about how the last game in D.C. turned out? Get over it, lads. And grab your passport.



NHL playoffs: Kings at San Jose, Game 1, 7 p.m.:

So they’ve landed in the No. 7 hole, losing three of their last four – including a 6-1 embarrassment at San Jose just last week. Aside from having to face No. 1 seed Vancouver, the Kings couldn’t be getting a much worse draw in the Stanley Cup playoffs than starting against the Sharks. “It’s going to be an exciting series and a great series for California hockey in general,” said Sharks captain Joe Thornton. Game 2 is Saturday at San Jose, 7 p.m.


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

It’s not enough to have Albert Pujols in town. A swarm of LAPD is expected to come in full force, too. The Dodgers are also giving away Lakers purple-and-gold caps to open this four-game homestand, because that’s the team really on everyone’s minds, right? Just in time for the NBA playoffs. The series includes games Friday and Saturday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) on Prime.

Golf: PGA Valero Texas Open, first round, noon, Golf Channel:

They may do things big in Texas, but there’s no way it finishes any better than the Masters. CBS has the final two rounds Saturday and Sunday.


MLB: Angels at Chicago White Sox, 5 p.m., FSW:

The jewel match up of this three-game weekend series is Jered Weaver (3-0, 0.87 ERA) against Mark Buehrle on Saturday (1 p.m., Fox Channel 11). We’ll take it to Sunday (11 a.m., FSW).



NBA playoffs: Games on ESPN at 10 a.m., 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., and on ABC Channel 7 at 12:30 p.m.:


The Lakers’ final playoff tour with Phil Jackson at the controls start at Staples Center, with an opponent, date and time to be determined. If it’s not today, then it’ll be Sunday (ABC also has a 12:30 p.m. window, while TNT goes on at 2, 5 and 7:30 p.m.)



IRL: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, 12:30 p.m., Versus:


How much Will Power does it take to pull your eyes off the first family of the Indy Racing League — Dario Franchitti and his high-profile spouse, Ashley Judd – and pay attention to the power of the one man making the most noise? Power — officially, Aussie native William Stephen Power — has not only one of the best names in all of sports, but one of the best track records at the Long Beach Grand Prix. He won it in 2008, the last year it was a Champ Car event. He qualified on the pole the last two years of IRL racing, finishing third (in ’10) and second (’09, behind Franchitti). Power went wire-to-wire to take Sunday’s new road course event in Birmingham, Ala., and he’s got a seven-point lead in the driver’s championship leading to Long Beach. More Power to him. Qualifying starts Saturday at 3 p.m. on Versus.

MLS: Galaxy at Chicago, 1 p.m., FSW (delayed at 3 p.m.):

Fans of this Chitown team have been told it’s OK to yell “Fire” in an uncrowded stadium.

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