THIS WEEK’S BEST BETS:
MLB PLAYOFFS: NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES
DODGERS vs. N.Y. METS
Details/TV: Game 1 at Dodger Stadium, Friday, TBS:
Now, things can get a little hairy for these Dodgers. First, there’s the prospects of facing finely groomed Mets starters Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard in the first two games – as their baseball cards show, they’ve got a lot of stuff coming out from under their caps.
They’ll comb through a Dodgers lineup that may or may not have Yasiel Puig, as it’s yet to be determined whether he’s healthy enough to be included in this round of the post-season. The Mets have their own issues as Yoenis Cespedes (11th in the MLB with a 6.3 WAR) was hit by a pitch and injured his left hand last week. Add to that the fact former Dodgers favorite Juan Uribe may not be up for this as he’s coming back from a chest injury. The Dodgers appear to be going with the hardly-follicly challenged Clayton Kershaw in Game 1, followed by Zack Greinke in Game 2. As a reference point, Greinke had seven scoreless innings against the Mets on July 4 in a 4-3 win at Dodger Stadium. One day earlier, Syndergaard limited the Dodgers to one run and two hits in six innings to earn a 2-1 win in a game where Kershaw had no decision. On July 23, Kershaw took a perfect game against the Mets into the seventh innings at Chase Field before settling on a 3-0 win where he struck out 11. Kershaw has a 6-0 career mark in nine starts against the Mets with a 1.34 ERA, the lowest of any pitcher to ever face that team in at least eight starts, according to Stats LLC. To the Dodgers’ advantage, their winning percentage at home this season is about .200 points higher at home than on the road.
Game 2 is at Dodger Stadium on Saturday before the series goes to New York.
ALSO THIS WEEK:
SOCCER: U.S. vs. MEXICO
Details/TV: At the Rose Bowl, Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1, Univision:
So this is the CONCACAF Cup match where Mexican TV broadcasters Azteca was promoting with ads that included cuts of Donald Trump talking about immigration, how the “American dream is dead” and “we don’t have victories anymore.” Mother Jones magazine reported on the spots with a story headlined: “Mexico Just Hilariously Trolled US Soccer Fans Thanks to Donald Trump.” Newest Galaxy star Giovani dos Santos is expected to be there for Team Mexico against the U.S. squad that includes Galaxy teammate Gyasi Zardes. The winner goes onto the CONCACAF region in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, which is an important tune-up to the 2018 World Cup, also in Russia. As U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann recently told USSoccer.com: “What’s really important during the preparation for this game is that everybody understands how serious it is. It’s a huge game. It’s a game that’s never been played before. … Everything has been done to set the game up in a big way, in a big stage, and this is exciting because as a player you want to be in a final that is played in front of 90,000 people and that gives you a trophy and takes you to a very important goal. It’s pretty difficult to make it any bigger than that.”
THE REST OF THE WEEK:
The Kings open the NHL season with the first of five in a row at home, against San Jose (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN) … USC plays one of those strange Thursday night home games against Washington (6 p.m., ESPN) … The MLB playoffs start with the wildcard games on Tuesday (AL: Houston at N.Y. Yankees, 5 p.m., ESPN) and Wednesday (NL: Chicago at Pittsburgh, 5 p.m. TBS) before the ALDS starts Thursday and NLDS on Friday …. The President’s Cup goes off in South Korea starting Wednesday … More will be at a link here.