The week ahead as we see it on the sports calendar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
MLB: DODGERS vs. BOSTON, Dodger Stadium, Friday-Sunday:
Let’s make a deal – every time Adrian Gonzalez or Carl Crawford of even Nick Punto step up to the plate during the Dodgers’ three-game series with the Red Sox, we think about to about this time a year and wonder: What if?
If the Dodgers’ braintrust wasn’t savvy and wealthy enough to pull off that waiver-wire deadline deal at the end of August, 2012 and take on all that extra payroll – including pitcher Josh Beckett – while giving up first baseman James Loney, infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr., right-handed pitching prospects Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa and outfielder Jerry Sands, where would they be today? Maybe the move saved the Red Sox some $270 million in contracts spread out over 2018, but it saved the Dodgers some face. While Beckett has been on the DL most of this year, Gonzalez, Crawford and Punto have been key ingredients in their latest surge to the NL West lead. So how’d the Red Sox fare in all this?
The 24-year-old hot shot De La Rosa has finally worked his way onto the roster recently, but not into the starting rotation – a place the Dodgers were comfortable in placing him during the 2010 season before he blew out his arm. He remains on a pitch count as they’re handling him with care two years removed from Tommy John surgery. Webster remains at Triple-A Pawtucket (5-4, 4.13 ERA after a brief callup in April, going 1-2 with a 9.57 ERA). Sands and DeJesus were traded to the Pirates for ineffective reliever Joel Hanrahan, and are still wallowing away at Triple-A Indianapolis. And, of course, Looney left to join Tampa Bay as a free agent.
Surely, all of this will give the national broadcast teams something to talk on and on about as the series progresses. If only Manny Ramirez was still part of the conversation. (You know, he is now available to either team).
Friday 7:10 p.m., Prime
Saturday, 1:10 p.m., Channel 11
Sunday, 5:05 p.m., ESPN
BEST OF THE REST:
MLB: DODGERS at MIAMI, 4:10 p.m., Channel 9:
Hear us out: Wouldn’t it make more sense for the Dodgers to hand-deliver Cuban-born sensation Yasiel Puig to the Miami fans as long as they’re in the neighborhood, and in exchange, take home-grown product and established young outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (Notre Dame High of Sherman Oaks), who becomes arbitration eligible when his fourth season ends this year (and won’t be a free agent until 2017)? Consider this: He hits cut-off men, and has plenty of power. Unfortunately, former Marlin Ricky Nolasco won’t make a start for the Dodgers – he’s the odd man out in this four-game set. But what few fans show up should remember Hanley Ramirez, you’d think.
The series continues:
Tuesday and Wednesday, 4:10 p.m., Channel 9
Thursday, 9:40 a.m., Channel 9
MLB: ANGELS vs. CLEVELAND, Angel Stadium, 7:05 p.m., FSW:
The Angels were all ready to pull a three-game sweep of the Indians in Cleveland last week until they blew a 5-0 lead in the Sunday finale. Hey, it happens.
The series continues:
Tuesday 7:05 p.m., FSW
Wednesday, 4:05 p.m., FSW
WNBA: SPARKS at SEATTLE, 7 p.m., ESPN2:
These Sparks (18-7) have won six in a row and are tied for the Western Conference lead.
Also this week:
Sparks vs. Tulsa, Staples Center, 5:30 p.m. Sunday, TWC Sports Net.
DOCUMENTARY: “VENUS AND SERENA,” 9 p.m., Showtime:
Entertainment Weekly gives this thing a “B+” for a film that follows the Williams sisters during their injury-plagued 2011 season. It’s been available on iTunes since April, and made a brief theatrical run in May. “You get to see me when I really wasn’t doing great, struggling, giving myself my medicine,” Serena, battling blood clots and surgery for a hematoma, recently told USA Today. “You can really see the story of how far I’m able to come.”
MLB: ANGELS at SEATTLE, 7:10 p.m., FSW:
The Angels are 1-6 in Seattle during two previous trips this season. When it rains, it pours.
The series continues:
Saturday 6:10 p.m., FSW
Sunday 1:10 p.m. FSW
Seattle at Green Bay, 5 p.m., Channel 2
Chicago at Oakland, 7 p.m., Channel 5
You’d expect new Raiders punter Chris Kluwe to get plenty of pre-season action. As long as he doesn’t kick it to that Hester guy.
St. Louis at Denver, 5 p.m., Channel 9
San Diego at Arizona, 7 p.m., Channel 2
The Broncos’ Von Miller is already in mid-season form.
BEACH VOLLEYBALL: MANHATTAN BEACH OPEN, south side of Manhattan Beach Pier, final, 3 p.m., CBSSN:
Maybe not what it used to be, but this $200,000 event sponsored by a re-incarnated of the AVP comes with the guarantee of having the champs’ names enshrined on the Manhattan Beach pier. Sean Scott and John Hyden are the two-time defending men’s champs; same for women’s titlists Jenny Kropp and Whitney Pavlik. The AVP says it has signed agreements to have Kerri Walsh-Jennings, Sean Rosenthal, Phil Dalhausser, April Ross, Jen Kessy, Todd Rogers and Jake Gibb in the field. There will also be a Legends 4s tournament starring Tim Hovland, Mike Dodd and others, with Sinjin Smith on-site signing autographs.
Qualifying starts Friday and continues Saturday.
HORSE RACING: Pacific Classic at Del Mar Race Track, 4:30 p.m., TVG:
The top three finishers from a year ago – Dullahan, Game On Dude and Richard’s Kid – are back for a rematch and perhaps share a margarita on the backstretch. Game On Dude has won five in a row with jockey Mike Smith, but Joel Rosario gets the mount this time since Smith will be at Saratoga. Game On Dude was second a year ago and fourth in this race in 2011.
LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL: at Williamsport, Pa., championship, noon, Channel 7:
Are these 12-year-olds with the eyeblack and shades of mustaches just getting bigger, or the bats sounding louder? We just don’t want to see a mercy rule go into effect any more.
The U.S. championship is Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 7, after the International championship (Saturday at 9:30 a.m., Channel 7).
IRL: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, 1 p.m., NBCSC:
Team Penske’s Ryan Briscoe ended up winning this by 0.4 seconds ahead of Assie teammate Will Power a year ago. After this, two more stops before the IRL season ender at Fontana on Oct. 19.
New Orleans at Houston, 1 p.m., Channel 11
Minnesota at San Francisco, 5 p.m. Sunday, Channel 4:
The 49ers have undrafted free agent and Olympic discus thrower Lawrence Okoye in camp. Let’s see what the 6-foot-5, 300-pound Brit can do with a helmet on.