Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Brewers’ clubhouse comedian Nyjer Morgan reacts as he is doused with bubbly after Milwaukee clinched the NL Central title with a win Friday night.
MLB divisional playoffs: ALDS Game 1s: Friday at 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., TBS; NLDS Game 1s and ALDS Game 2s: Saturday at 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., TBS; NLDS Game 2s: Sunday at 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., TBS:
The Southern California Brewers of Milwaukee are where we’ll hitch our bandwagon for this postseason. The winners of the NL Central have the L.A.-based owner (Mark Attanasio) and former Dodgers outfielder-turned-Angels-bench coach as its manager (Ron Roenicke), with an MVP candidate out of Granada Hills.
Once you get around Prince Fielder — not an easy task — it’s Ryan Braun, the potential batting champ, who hit the dramatic home run last Friday that clinched the Brews’ first divisional title since 1982 (when they were in the AL East, for cryin’ out loud). Back in spring training, Braun bought a boxing-style championship title belt and hung it in the team’s clubhouse. It remained all season long. The team became hungry, like Randy Wolf, the starting pitcher out of El Camino Real and Pepperdine with more Dodgers connections. “One thing I always hated was in spring training when you’d have these meetings and say, ‘OK, guys, we’re going to compete this year’,” said Wolf. “That’s one of the things that drove me nuts. You have to do more than compete. Competing is just trying. Anybody can try. It was something we talked about in spring training and it’s the mentality you have to have. We knew the organization had stepped up to give us a team that could win. It wasn’t like we hoped we could do it. We knew we could do it.” So now Wolf (13-10, 3.61), on a pitching staff that includes a bullpen of 6-foot-9 Kameron Loe (Granada Hills High, Cal State Northridge), former Dodgers All-Star closer Takashi Saito and one-time Angels’ rookie World Series standout Francisco Rodriguez, waits with the rest of us to see how the NL’s wildcard shakes out — Atlanta, or St. Louis? It all matters in how the first-round pairings go with the Diamondbacks and Phillies. The AL pairings are similarly up in the air as the Yankees, Tigers and Rangers wait to see if the Red Sox, Rays or Angels are coming along.
MLB: Angels vs. Texas, Angel Stadium, 7:05 p.m., FSW:
The Angels might have been the MLB’s biggest Southern California gate attraction for the first time in 50 years, but there would have been another 130,000 guaranteed for this final series if things didn’t end so painfully Sunday against Oakland. Buy your final souvenirs on Tuesday (7:05 p.m., FSW) and Wednesday (5:05 p.m., FSW). The Rangers have won six of 10 against the Angels since the All-Star break to effectively push back their closest competition. The plan is still for Jered Weaver to come back and pitch the finale, especially if the Angels win the first two and are somehow still alive.
MLB: Dodgers at Arizona, 6:40 p.m., Prime:
Things to know about the Matt Kemp MVP/Triple Crown watch for the last three games of the season: The Dodgers center fielder is 7-for-24 this season at Chase Field in Phoenix, with two homers and five RBI. While the D’backs get their rotation ready for the playoffs — Ian Kennedy made his last start Saturday, improving to 21-4 — the Dodgers wind down with Eveland, Kuroda and Lilly on Tuesday (6:40 p.m., Channel 9) and Wednesday (6:40 p.m., Prime).
NFL: Washington at Dallas, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
We’ll take a slab of Tony Romo’s ribs to go from Tony Roma’s takeout and see if this game is all that it’s cracked up to be.
Reality show: “Dancing With The Stars,” 8 p.m., Channel 7:
World Peace is hopelessly gone. Hope Solo is left. “I wanted both of us to go far in the show and kind of represent the sports world, but unfortunately that didn’t happen that way, so I better stand strong until the end,” the U.S. women’s national team goalie told E! More eliminations on Tuesday. Save yourself, Hope. That Wilson-Phillips chick (she’s married to a Baldwin?) could be your toughest opponent.
Reality show: “The Biggest Loser,” 8 p.m., Channel 4:
We didn’t realize that we had a rooting interest until we spotted former NFL player Antone Davis (Philadelphia and Atlanta from 1991-’97) stepping on the scale in last week’s season opener to show that he dropped 32 pounds, going from 447 to 414. Here’s a testament to what can happen, again, with owning a restaurant once you retire from the game. The 44-year-old played at 349 when he was at the University of Tennessee then at about 335 in the NFL. Oh, did we also mention Anna Kournikova has been hired as a “fitness expert,” replacing Jillian Michaels?
Documentary: “Catching Hell,” 5 p.m., ESPN:
The saga of Steve Bartman, who still hasn’t shown his face for an interview since that fateful October day in 2003, gets a new examination by Academy Award winning filmmaker Alex Gibney. The L.A. connections — former Dodgers first baseman Eric Karros played for the Cubs that season, and was in that NLDS Game 6 at Wrigley Field when all heck broke loose after Bartman upset Cubs left fielder Moises Alou, in pursuit of a foul ball. When the grumbling settled, the Florida Marlins scored eight runs in the eighth inning. “It was like all the air just came out of the place,” Karros says in the piece that replays Thursday, 8 p.m., ESPN2; Friday at 7 and 9 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m. on ESPN Classic.
Soccer: Galaxy vs. Monaress Morelia, Home Depot Center, 7 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel:
The CONCACAF Champions League series continues with the two teams tied for second place in Group A. The Galaxy lost to Morelia 2-1 in Mexico two weeks ago.
Golf: Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open, first round, 1 p.m., Golf Channel:
The Fall Season begins in Las Vegas, at the place where Jonathan Byrd hit a hole-in-one on the fourth playoff hole just before dark to win last year’s event.
NHL exhibition: Kings at Ducks, Honda Center, 7 p.m.:
Will Drew Doughty be suited up by this time?
Horse racing: Santa Anita Autumn season, first post, 1 p.m.:
The 24-day race meet runs through Nov. 6 with a four-day race week, Thursday through Sunday, on a new natural dirt main track.
College football: USC vs. Arizona, Coliseum, 12:30 p.m., FSN:
The Wildcats (1-3) have not seen much of a flex alert. They’e been pounded by three ranked teams — Oregon, Stanford and Oklahoma State — over the last three weeks, outscored 130-55 in the process. A perfect opportunity for the Trojans, and their wildcat formation with Marc Tyler, to rebound from their loss at ASU.
College football: UCLA at Stanford, 7:30 p.m., FSN:
It’s not as if the Cardinal lucked into a bye week to prepare for these Bruins, but they took it anyway. Andrew Luck has completed 67 percent of his passes and has an 8-to-1 ratio in TDs-to-INTs.
NHL exhibition: Kings vs. Colorado, Las Vegas, 6 p.m.:
The Kings head out to Germany immediately after playing in the annual “Frozen Fury” at the MGM Grand, landing in Europe on Sunday night.
MLS: Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m.:
It’s Fan Appreciation Night, since the last three league games are on the road (including one against Chivas USA). Galaxy fans appreciate the fact the team has already secured a playoff spot, pointing toward hosting the MLS Cup game
NASCAR: Sprint Cup AAA 400 at Dover, Del., 11 a.m., ESPN:
Tony Stewart, who once said he’d be a “total bumbling idiot” if he won the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, is two for two already. “Got eight long weeks still, man,” Stewart said. “It’s way too early to start counting chickens.” The Big D in Delaware could deliver another reason to bank on Smoke taking the title.
NFL: Miami at San Diego, 1 p.m., Channel 2:
Reggie Bush, in his own version of “Dolphin Tale,” dogpaddles home to Sea World.
NFL: Pittsburgh at Houston, 10 a.m., Channel 2:
Who’s this Tate guy that keeps leading the Texans in rushing each week?
NFL: N.Y. Jets at Baltimore, 5:15 p.m., Channel 4:
Gotta get the Detroit Lions in prime time before things fall apart.