Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
MLB: First-year player draft, today at 4 p.m., MLB Network:
ESPN’s Keith Law wrote a piece the other day, justifying the Pittsburgh Pirates taking UCLA 6-foot-4 junior pitcher Gerrit Cole with the No. 1 overall pick.
“His size, athleticism and delivery cemented his status as the top college arm in this draft . . . he compares favorably to Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals . . . and his changeup is better than Strasburg’s breaking ball was at the time he was drafted.” Never mind that Cole has posted a 6-8 record with a 3.31 ERA this season, losing in the Bruins’ NCAA regional tournament opener against San Francisco. The Yankees’ first-round pick in 2008 (28th overall), Cole opted for college instead. Now, will it pay off? Teammate Trevor Bauer (13-2, 1.25 ERA, Pac-10 record 203 strike outs), the Collegiate Baseball magazine’s player of the year, could also steal some thunder. “(Bauer’s stuff) is not Cole stuff but it is pretty good,” said Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis said. “He has added velocity every year. These two guys are facing the same opponents every week so it is a good comparison.” The Dodgers and Angels go back-to-back at Nos. 16 and 17. MLB.com has video streaming of the draft as it continues on Tuesday and Wednesday.
NHL Stanley Cup finals, Game 3: Vancouver at Boston, 5 p.m., Versus:
Luongo story short — The Canucks win two more, and they’re champs. No more finger pointing. Or biting. Game 4 stays in Boston (Wednesday, 5 p.m., Versus), but if more is needed, it’s 2,508 miles back to Vancouver for Game 5 (Friday, 5 p.m., Channel 4)
MLB: Dodgers at Philadelphia, 4 p.m., Channel 9:
Here’s the rub: 22-year-old Rubby De La Rosa, fresh out of Double-A ball, is on the radar to take the injured Jon Garland’s spot in the Dodgers’ rotation on Tuesday, facing Roy Oswalt. Before that, it’s Cliff Lee. After that, it’s Cole Hammels. Andre Ethier is a combined 4-for-30 against those three Phillies’ starters lifetime (while going 5-for-7 against Roy Halladay). Matt Kemp is 0-for-8 against Oswalt with four strikeouts.
MLB: Angels vs. Tampa Bay, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:
Joel Pineiro, winless in his last four attempts to pick up his 100th career victory, gives it another shot. Rays All-Star David Price draws the other starting assignment. The series continues with a plaid newsboy cap giveaway on Tuesday (7 p.m., FSW), where former Hart High of Newhall standout James Shields starts for Tampa. The finale is Wednesday (7 p.m., FSW).
NBA Finals Game 4: Miami at Dallas, 6 p.m., Channel 7:
Sorry, but even after a Game 2 meltdown, Miami and LeBron James are sitting pretty. The Heat’s win on Sunday in Dallas has some history behind it — the Game 3 winner in a tied finals has won the championship all 11 times since the 2-3-2 format began in 1985. The older Mavs have only one day of rest before this one, and that’s not in their favor either. With one more at home in Game 5 (Thursday, 6 p.m., Channel 7), Dallas can only hope to go back to Miami a Game 6 (Sunday, 5 p.m., Channel 7) with a 3-2 lead.
MLB: Boston at N.Y. Yankees, 4 p.m., MLB Network:
There aren’t enough days in the season to televise all the meetings between these two, but we’ll try. Their game Wednesday is also televised (ESPN, 4 p.m.) before this latest series ends Thursday.
Soccer: CONCACAF Gold Cup: U.S. vs. Canada in Detroit, 5 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel:
Bob Bradley’s roster includes Galaxy star Landon Donovan, who leads all U.S. players in Gold Cup scoring with 12. His appearance in this tournament opener will give him 23, tying Kasey Keller for the most by a U.S. player. The U.S. moves on to face Panama on Saturday in Tampa, Fla., (4:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel) while Home Depot Center plays host to two games on Monday: Grenada vs. Jamaica (6 p.m.) and Guatemala vs. Honduras (8 p.m.)
MLB: Chicago at Cincinnati, 9:30 a.m., MLB Network:
Wake up and smell the Votto.
MLB: Dodgers at Colorado, 5:40 p.m., Prime:
Troy Tulowitzki, who for some reason had watched his batting slump below the .250 mark, went 4-for-12 with two doubles against the Dodgers in a recent three-game series to get back on track — even though the Rockies lost two of them. Ty Wiggington was 3-for-9 with a pair of homers. This four-game series includes Friday (5:40 p.m., Prime), Saturday (5:10 p.m., Channel 9) and Sunday (12:10 p.m., Prime).
MLB: Angels vs. Kansas City, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:
The Angels, who won two of three against the Royals last week in K.C., fire up their first summer concert music series with “International pop sensation” (according to some reports) Taio Cruz performing in a postgame concert at Angel Stadium after Saturday night’s game (6 p.m., FSW). The two teams have their own encore Sunday (12:35 p.m., FSW).
WNBA: Sparks vs. Phoenix, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.:
At least it doesn’t conflict with a possible Lakers’ finals game.
Horse racing: Belmont Stakes, 3:36 p.m., Channel 4:
How macho is it to wear glue-on shoes in a Triple Crown race? Mucho. But Mucho Macho Man, who lost his right front shoe at the Preakness a couple weeks ago and finished sixth — after a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby — has reportedly found a new blacksmith and new style of shoes for this event. Trainer Kathy Ritvo told ESPN she had to make the change to the synthetic sticky shoe. “If anything does the trick,” she said, “this is going to do the trick.” Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, which finished runner-up to Shackleford at the Belmont, should be back for the 143rd edition of this race. Versus coverage starts at noon and has a wrap-up show from 4-4:30 p.m. NBC’s window runs from 2-4 p.m.
MLS: Galaxy vs. Toronto, Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
The Western Conference leading Galaxy (8-2-6), with a league-best 20 goals, face a FC team from the Great White North that hasn’t won a game since May 7 – two losses and four ties since then. They’ve given up 10 more goals than they’ve scored. These two played to a 0-0 draw back in April in Toronto.
MLS: Chivas at Houston, 5:30 p.m., Prime:
The Rojiblancos (4-4-5) face a squad of Dynamo (3-5-6) that’s hardly been dynamic.
NASCAR: Pocono 500, 10 a.m., TNT:
The first of two stops at the tri-oval track in Long Pond, Pa., starts the first of six consecutive weeks of coverage by TNT.