Play It Forward Sept. 28-Oct. 4: Can Angels grab this last chance to advance?

mynameisopportunityTHIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
MLB: ANGELS vs. OAKLAND
Details/TV: At Angel Stadium, Monday-Wednesday, FSW
ANGELS at TEXAS
Details/TV: Thursday-Sunday, FSW:

The Angels' Garrett Richards has won his last two starts, picking up his 15th victory of the season against Seattle last Friday. He is scheduled to pitch Wednesday against Oakland and, if needed, a Sunday finale against Texas. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The Angels’ Garrett Richards has won his last two starts, picking up his 15th victory of the season against Seattle last Friday. He is scheduled to pitch Wednesday against Oakland and, if needed, a Sunday finale against Texas. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Baseball is all about creating oppor-
tunities. Allowing roster expan-
sion in Sep-
tember and October, for example, is a huge job creator, even if it appears more an oppor-
tunity for chaos. No matter what the team’s disposition in the standings, it can bring up bushels of minor-league players and turn an otherwise important game into an outdoor swap meet. Instant replay creates more opportunity – or perhaps, more the illusion – that perfection can be achieved. In that pursuit, more work is given to people in a New York office building who deem themselves qualified to review video and overrule the men in black right before their questionable set of eyes. But the most appreciable opportunity created, at least for those who follow the Angels, is one of redemption. Even though injuries and what-not resulted in the Angels’ AL West lead withering away in August, it doesn’t mean they aren’t post-season worthy. Top three division winners get the automatic playoff bid. But the next two teams with the best records have a one-game, league-generated “wild card” do-or-die date. The Angels, whose only World Series title was the result of a previously-established wild-card scenario, find themselves in a battle with the Houston Astros for that last opportunity to travel to New York on Oct. 6 and take on the Yankees for a shot at playing Toronto in the ALDS. The Angels have seven more to play, the Astros just six and they have one more win in the process. The Angels’ final home game Wednesday looks to match up Garrett Richards against the A’s ace, Sonny Gray. Expect things to come down to the very last day, where the MLB has tried to level the playing field by having every game begin in the PDT noontime hour, so scoreboard watching comes with a premium for those likely still clawing for their lives. Like the Angels.
Home games Monday and Tuesday at 7:05 p.m., with Wednesday’s game at 4:05 p.m. Road games Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 5:05 p.m., Sunday’s game at 12:05 p.m.

ALSO THIS WEEK:
MLB: DODGERS at SAN FRANCISCO

Details/TV: Monday-Thursday, SportsNet L.A.:
Giants-Dodgers-Rivalry
Of course, the official crowning of the NL West title has to come in this four-game series. The baseball gods wouldn’t want it any other way. Even though the Giants have won all six games against the Dodgers in San Francisco this season, another sweep here would be a bit of a stunner and really send up a major red flag. First things first: How will Zack Greinke’s sore calf react to pitching in the Monday opener, or will it bother him enough to wait it out again? Another Clayton Kershaw-Madison Bumgarner matchup awaits on Tuesday night. Wednesday’s contest is purported to be on ESPN, but we’ll have to see about that.
Games Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:15 p.m., Thursday’s game at 12:45 p.m.

THE REST OF THE WEEK:

UCLA, up to No. 7 in the AP rankings, has a 4:30 p.m. Rose Bowl date on Saturday with Arizona State (on Channel 11) … The NBA exhibition season begins with the Clippers against Denver at Staples Center (Friday, 7 p.m.) and the Lakers facing Utah in Hawaii (Saturday, 6 p.m.) while the NHL exhibition season comes to an end with the Kings facing the Ducks at Staples Center (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.) and Colorado in Las Vegas (Saturday, 7 p.m.) … The Dodgers finish the regular season against San Diego at home (Friday-Sunday) … And will there be a Bruce Springsteen sighting at the LA Convention Center this weekend?  More at this link.

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