Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
(AP Photo/David Goldman)
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy seem cordial enough as they walk up the fairway of the 17th hole during the first round at the Tour Championship golf tournament in Atlanta last week.
Golf: Ryder Cup, at Medinah Country Club, Ill., Friday-Sunday:
This Tiger Woods-Rory McIlory faceoff, which was rather tame during the just concluded Tour championship in Atlanta, takes on U.S.-vs.-Euro proportions, with plenty of references to McIlroy joking at the PGA Championship a few weeks back that he wanted to kick Woods’ rear end in this event. Put ‘em in a singles matchup Sunday and see what happens in TV land. Woods has won two PGA Championships at Medinah, and U.S. captain Davis Love III has already said he thinks the rough cut down and the greens fast play into his team’s strength.
“It’s going to look like a major championship because Medinah is a big old golf course,” Love said. “But it’s going to play probably easier than a major. That benefits our team. We’re a long-hitting, freewheeling, fun-to-watch team. And I think it’s going to be fun to watch.” A 12-member U.S. fun bunch with the high-strung Woods and the higher-strung Brandt Snedeker, who just won the Tour title, is going to need a lot of Bubba Watson to keep things loose. Europe’s squad featuring McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose, has won six of the last eight Cups. “Medinah is a long slog of a golf course,” CBS golf analyst David Feherty said. “The crowds in Chicago will turn (it) into something special.” ESPN has the first day of foursomes (5 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), NBC has the next two days (Channel 4, Saturday with fourball and foursomes, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday with singles, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
NFL Week 3: Green Bay at Seattle, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
The gameplan for Pete Carroll’s ‘Hawks, who have come awfully close to starting the season 2-0, should be to eat up the clock with Marshawn Lynch and do everything possible to keep Russell Wilson upright against a Packers defense that has 11 sacks so far in two games. The Pack, however, is giving up 140 rushing yards a game, near the bottom of the list. Goofy stat of the night: Seattle has an NFL-best 17-8 record on “MNF,” and five of their franchise 16 shutouts have come on Mondays. That 12th Man will have something to say about the outcome here.
MLB: Oakland at Texas, 5 p.m., MLB Network:
The league-owned channel also has the A’s and Rangers game Tuesday, same time.
MLB: Dodgers at San Diego, 7:05 p.m., Channel 9:
As much as the Dodgers may think they’ve owned the Padres this season, San Diego took two of three at Dodger Stadium from Sept. 3-5 and nearly pulled off a sweep if not for the Dodgers’ 11-inning win in the opener. The Dodgers have no choice at this point but to use three starters who are at .500 or below at this point. The tricky game may be Wednesday (3:35 p.m., Prime), with that early first pitch and Clayton Richard on the mound. Richard has already pitched five times against the Dodgers this season (2-1, 11 ER in 32 innings, with a .223 average against him). The Dodgers’ road season ends Thursday (7:05 p.m. Prime).
MLB: Angels vs. Seattle, Angel Stadium, 7:05 p.m., FSW:
Six of the last nine games of the regular season are against the Mariners, and Felix Hernandez is set to pitch the middle game (Wednesday, 7:05 p.m.). While King Felix has a 13-8 record and 2.85 ERA against the league, he’s 0-2 with 5.75 ERA against the Angels this season in three starts, all of them Seattle defeats. The series has a nice early ending on Thursday (12:35 p.m.)
MLB: N.Y. Yankees at Minnesota, 10 a.m., MLB Network; Washington at Philadelphia, 4 p.m., ESPN2; Oakland at Texas, 5 p.m., ESPN:
How can you not include Derek Jeter in any AL MVP discussion? (Sorry, I now have to point out this is meant in sarcasm, for those who believe Jeter belongs in the discussion every year. This clearly went over the heads of some who … never mind).
WNBA playoffs: Western Conference semifinals Game 1: Sparks vs. San Antonio, Galen Center, 7 p.m., ESPN2:
Sorry, Sparkettes, but you’ve been banished from your home court because AEG booked up Staples Center for something called “Batman Live: World Arena Tour,” covering seven shows from Sept. 27-Sept. 30. The best-of-three series against the Silver Stars continues in San Antonio for Game 2 on Saturday (noon, NBA TV) before it comes back to L.A. on Oct. 1 if needed — which is fortunate that the Staples Center’s Justin Bieber two-night concert runs Oct. 2-3. The Sparks lost the first three meetings against San Antonio this season, but all those games were in June. Candace Parker put up 21, 15 and 25 points to go with 11, 15 and 13 rebounds in each of those losses. But when the Sparks finally beat the Silver Stars on Aug. 23, the 101-77 win (linked here) was highlighted by Kristi Toliver’s 29 points (six 3-pointers) and Alana Beard’s 21 points, while Parker had just six points, 10 rebounds and six assists in 18 minutes. We’ve spotted a trend.
NFL Week 4: Cleveland at Baltimore, 5:20 p.m., NFL Network:
Sorry, Art Modell isn’t around to see this one.
College football: Stanford at Washington, 6 p.m., ESPN:
The Cardinal has had more than a week to soak its win over USC. Classes have started. See what early grades are posted in Seattle.
Cycling: USA Elite National Track Championships, Velo Sports Center, Carson:
Get your beach cruisers down to the Home Depot Center campus for the men’s and women’s individual pursuit titles, which highlight the first day in the four-day meet. If you’re looking for some of the top cyclists who competed for the U.S. team at the recent London Olympics, the list starts with silver medalist Sarah Hammer (right) as well as the women’s team pursuit team of Hammer, Jennie Reed, Dotsie Bausch and Lauren Tamayo, who also won silver. There’s also Olympian Jimmy Watkins, a full time firefighter from Bakersfield, sixth in the sprint in London. Most with Olympic credentials are racing Friday and Saturday nights. More at the race website (linked here).
MLB: Dodgers vs. Colorado, Dodger Stadium, 7:05 p.m., Prime:
Start spreading the news: The opener of this three-game series celebrates Tommy Lasorda’s 85th birthday with a post-game fireworks show set to Frank Sinatra tunes. The series covers Saturday (TBA) and Sunday (1:10 p.m.) with the annual fan appreciation day give-away.
MLB: Angels at Texas, 5:05 p.m., FSW:
Jered Weaver is in line to go after win No. 20, and he’s taken care of the Rangers in his last two appearances — an 11-3 win on Sept. 18 when he gave up three runs in seven innings, and then a 6-2 victory on July 31, surrendering two runs in 6 1/3. The Angels outscored the Rangers, 14-12, in the three game series last week in Anaheim and still lost two of three, capped by Adrian Beltre’s ninth-inning homer in the finale that gave Texas a 3-1 win. Also: Saturday (5:05 p.m., FSW) and Sunday (12:05 p.m., FSW).
Movie: “The Other Dream Team,” opening at the Landmark Theater in Westwood:
This documentary on the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic men’s basketball team, an official selection of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, actually starts with the Soviet Union’s stunning upset over the U.S. in the 1988 Summer Games. While in American it led to the push to add professional players and thus the creation of the so-called U.S. “Dream Team” with Jordan, Magic and Bird, the more dramatic changes came on the other side of the world. As the Communist Soviet Union blew up, basketball stars such as future Hall of Famers Sarunas Marciulionis and Arvydas Sabonis became symbols of the democracy that came out of this new independent country. The team wore the Grateful Dead tie-dyed shirts and were both inspired and financially supported by the rock band, as well as by loyal follower Bill Walton.
Film director Marius Markevicius, a first-generation Lithuanian-American, was going to middle school in Santa Monica in ’88 when he saw the U.S. team lose to the Soviets. He was 16 and playing basketball at Santa Monica High when he saw the Lithuania team take a bronze medal in ’92 — defeating Russia, after losing to the U.S. in the semifinals. “In the United States, we’re programmed to believe that anything but first place is a disappointment,” Markevicius says. “This film — and the nearly three-year journey it has taken me on — has taught me a very valuable lesson: Sometimes bronze is truly sweeter than gold.”
Horse racing: Santa Anita autumn meeting, first post, 1 p.m.:
The first day of the 24-race meet is known as “Eddie D Day,” honoring jockey Eddie Delahoussaye with a collectable book giveaway and the Eddie D Stakes race. The Zenyatta Stakes is Saturday, with the winner of the 3-year-olds and up qualifying for the Nov. 2-3 Breeders’ Cup races, also at Santa Anita.
College football: UCLA at Colorado, 3 p.m., Pac-12 Network:
The Bruins’ concern could be a) those who think last season’s 45-6 win a year ago against the Buffs at the Rose Bowl is an indicator of where this one could go or b) having a 45-6 lead in this one and thinking it’s over. Colorado trailed 31-14 at Washington State early in the fourth quarter last Saturday, and was headed for an 0-3 start, before it pulled itself together and ran off to a 35-34 victory. At least Colorado coach Jon Embree doesn’t have to worry about having to defend against his son, Taylor, again.
College football: Ohio State at Michigan State, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7; Arizona State at Cal, 1 p.m., FX: Texas at Oklahoma State, 4:50 p.m., Channel 11; Wisconsin at Nebraska, 5 p.m., Channel 7; Ole Miss at Alabama, 6:15 p.m., ESPN; Oregon State at Arizona, 7 p.m, Pac-12 Network; Oregon at Washington State, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2:
The newly minted No. 2 Ducks have a late-night affair in a city we’re still not sure knows that push-button land-lines aren’t all the rage any longer.
NFL Week 4:
San Diego at Kansas City, 10 a.m., Channel 2:
San Francisco at N.Y. Jets, 10 a.m., Channel 11:
Oakland at Denver, 1:05 p.m., Channel 2:
New Orleans at Green Bay, 1:25 p.m., Channel 11:
N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4:
Alex Smith finally got picked off, and so did the 49ers last Sunday in Minnesota. They’re on the road again in New York, where Jim Harbaugh best think twice about icing kickers. And plan accordingly for a Sanchez-to-Tebow throw.
NASCAR: AAA 400 at Dover, Del., 10 a.m., ESPN:
Give an edge to current points leader Jimmie Johnson at the Monster Mile: He won the Sprint Cup event back on June 3 when they last visited.