ESPN Opens 25th Anniversary Season Of MLB Coverage This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN hits a major mark this weekend.

The Worldwide Leader in Sports begins its 25th season of Major League Baseball coverage beginning this Sunday night. ESPN opens its 25th anniversary season covering Major League Baseball live from San Diego, California. Chase Headley and the Padres host Yasiel Puig and the Los Angeles Dodgers live on ESPN’s MLB Opening Night Presented by Scotts at 8pm ET on ESPN in the network’s season opening broadcast. Dan Shulman will have the call. He will be joined by analyst John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney for the broadcast. The game will be broadcast on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes Radio, and ESPN Deportes. Before the game starts, ESPN will air a special 90-minute edition of Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown beginning at 6:30pm live from Petco Park in San Diego with Karl Ravech, Jon Kruk and MLB Hall of Famer/ESPN analyst Barry Larkin. Larkin and Ravech will hit the road after Sunday’s broadcast for a special Opening Day edition of Baseball Tonight live at 12pm ET live from Great American Ballpark.

Sunday night’s Opening Night broadcast will be followed up Monday with an Opening Day double header broadcast. Game one will come live from Pittsburgh as reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen and the Pirates host Starlin Castro and the Chicago Cubs. The broadcast is scheduled for a 1pm ET start time. Sean McDonough will anchor the broadcast. He will be joined in the booth by analyst Aaron Boone and reporter Tim Kurkjian. The second game on the day will see Joey Votto and the Cincinnati Reds host NL Central foes and defending National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Dan Shulman will have the play-by-play for the game. He will be joined by Jon Kruk and Buster Olney for the trio’s second game in less than twenty-four hours.

If ESPN’s Opening Day double header isn’t enough for baseball lovers, ESPN2 will have a triple-header beginning at 3pm ET. Game one on the day’s schedule will see David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox hosting Chris Davis and the Baltimore Orioles at the famed Fenway Park. Dave O’Brien will anchor the broadcast. He will be joined in the booth by analysts Rick Sutcliff and Eric Wedge, and reporter Pedro Gomez. Troy Tulowitzki and the Colorado Rockies will host Giancarlo Stanton and the Miami Marlins in the second game of the three-game schedule. SportsCenter’s Steve Levy will call the play-by-play action for the game. He will be joined by analyst Eduardo Perez for more insight. The last game of the day on ESPN2’s triple header schedule will see Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners on the road against Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. That game is scheduled for a 10pm ET start time. Jon Sciambi will have the call. Analyst Doug Glanville and reporter Jessica Mendoza will also be on hand for more coverage throughout the game.

All of ESPN’s games and Baseball Tonight can be watched online through all computers and mobile internet via WatchESPN. Specific games will also be on ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes +, and ESPN Radio.

More information on ESPN’s Opening Night and Opening Day coverage is available online at http://espn.go.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Lightweights Lead March 7th Edition Of FNF

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Lightweights lead the way on the March 7th edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra and ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates presentado por Corona Extra.

Up-and-coming Lightweight contender Rustam Nugaev (26 – 6, 16 KOs) will take on former Lightweight world title challenger Marvin Quintero (25 – 4, 21 KOs) in the night’s ten-round main event.  Tonight’s broadcast will come live from Pala Casino in Pala, California at 9pm ET on ESPN2.  It can also be viewed online via WatchESPN and ESPN Deportes+.  ESPN Deportes will re-broadcast tonight’s main event via tape delay Saturday, March 8th at 7pm.

Nugaev, comes into tonight’s main event on a hot streak.  He won his last four fights via KO.  And he claimed a first-round KO over Mario Hermasillo in his most recent fight.  Nugaev’s last FNF appearance ended with a victory, too.  He defeated Jose Hernandez with a KO in the fifth round of that fight.  ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael wrote of Nugaev after the fight, “Nugaev is a fun fighter to watch. He’s an aggressive brawler who lets it all hang out when the bell rings, and it was no different in his methodical destruction of Hernandez, who gave it his all but was simply outgunned. It was a good action fight.”  Quintero will be hungry for a win as he enters the ring tonight.  His most recent fight, a twelve-round fight against IBF titlist Miguel Vasquez, resulted in a split decision loss to Vasquez.  Quintero was grounded in his thoughts on tonight’s main event.  He said of facing Nugaev, “I think the Russian (Nugaev) is strong, a brawler. He has a pretty good reach and huge experience.”

Along with tonight’s main event, audiences will also be treated to a an eight-round co-feature that will see undefeated Bantamweight Roman Morales (17 – 0, 9 KOs) taking on Khabir Suleymanov (16 – 3, 6 KOs).  Morales, from California, looks to add another notch to his win column tonight.  That match, in which he faced Roberto Castaneda, resulted in a ten-round unanimous decision for Morales.  Suleymanov also is hoping to extend his win streak tonight.  He defeated Juanito Rubillar courtesy of an eighth-round unanimous decision in his most recent  fight.

Opening the night’s card will be a six-round fight between undefeated Welterweight Dusty Hernandez-Harrison (19 – 0, 10 KOs) taking on Michael Balasi (10 – 3, 7 KOs).

Bernardo Osuna will fill in for Joe Tessitore tonight.  He will be ringside with Tessitore’s regular ringside co-host Teddy Atlas for ESPN2.  Todd Grisham will be live in studio with all of the latest boxing news and highlights.  Leopoldo Gonzales fills in for Delvin Rodriguez on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+.  He will be ringside with Pablo Viruega for all of the action.  Claudia Trejos will be live in studio and will be joined by special guest, Cuban comedian Bonco Quinongo.  Quinongo has appeared previously as a special guest on ESPN Deportes radio to discuss boxing with Trejos.

The latest ESPN FNF schedule is available below.

Upcoming Schedule:

Date Time (ET) Main Event Location Networks
Fri, Mar. 21 9 p.m. Vanes Martirosyan (33-1-1, 21 KOs) vs. Mario Alberto Lozano (27-4, 20 KOs) — 10 rounds, Junior Middleweights Morongo Casino, Cabazon, Calif. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Mar. 28 9 p.m. Boxcino Lightweight Semifinals: eight rounds each

Chris Rudd (13-1, 8 KOs) vs. Petr Petrov (33-4-2, 14 KOs)

Miguel González (23-3, 16 KOs) vs. Fernando Carcamo (16-5, 13 KOs) 

4 Bears Casino,
New Town, N.D.
ESPN, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Apr. 18 9 p.m. Boxcino Middleweight
Semifinals: eight rounds each

Brandon Adams (13-0, 9 KOs) vs. Raymond Gatica (14-2, 9 KOs)

Willie Monroe Jr. (16-1, 6 KOs) vs. Vitalii Kopylenko (22-0, 12 KOs)

Turning Stone Casino, Verona, N.Y. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN

 

More information on FNF and Noche de Combates is available online at http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf, http://twitter.com/ESPNFNF, http://twitter.com/espnboxeo and http://twitter.com/espnboxing.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Cards, Cubs To Face Off May 4th On ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN announced this week, the latest addition to its upcoming twenty-fifth anniversary season of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell.  Network officials announced earlier this week that it has added a matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs on May 4th to its schedule.  The Cubs will host the defending National League Champion Cardinals in the game.  First pitch is scheduled for 8pm ET.  The matchup is the fourth for the Cards during the 2014 season and the first for the Cubs.

Dan Shulman will anchor the night’s broadcast.  He will be joined by Dan Shulman, returning analyst Jon Kruk, new analyst Curt Schilling and reporter Buster Olney for commentary.  Along with its broadcast on ESPN, fans can also catch the game on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio and WatchESPN.  It will be preceded by ESPN’s weekly pre-game show, Baseball Tonight at 7pm.

The current schedule of Sunday Night Baseball games is listed below.

Early-seasonSunday Night Baseball schedule

Date Game
March 30 Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres telecast presented by Scotts
April 6 San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers telecast presented by Taco Bell (ESPN2)
April 13 Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees telecast presented by Taco Bell
April 20 Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox telecast presented by Taco Bell (7 p.m.)
April 27 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at New York Yankees telecast presented by Taco Bell
May 4 St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs telecast presented by Taco Bell
May 11 St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates telecast presented by Taco Bell
May 18 Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox telecast presented by Taco Bell
May 25 St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds telecast presented by Taco Bell
July 13 New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles telecast presented by Taco Bell
July 20 Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals telecast presented by Taco Bell

Sunday Night Baseball game selections for June through September are generally made two weeks in advance.

More information on ESPN’s MLB coverage is available online at http://espn.go.com/mlb.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Celebrates 25 Years Covering MLB With Special Opening Night Broadcast

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN reaches a milestone this Spring.  Beginning March 30th at 6:30pm ET, the Worldwide Leader in Sports will kick off its twenty-fifth season covering Major League Baseball.  It all begins with an exclusive ninety-minute presentation of MLB’s Opening Night on ESPN presented by Scotts–Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres—on Sunday Night Baseball.  Karl Ravech will host the special anniversary broadcast.  He will be joined by MLB Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, Jon Kruk, and Curt Schilling.

The night’s special pre-game broadcast will be followed up by first pitch scheduled for 8pm ET.  Host Dan Shulman will be back for the network’s landmark anniversary season.  Also returning are analyst Jon Kruk and reporter Buster Olney.  There will be a new face joining the regular broadcast team this season.  MLB veteran and Curt Schilling also joins the team beginning this season.

MLB fans can catch all the Opening Night festivities across the ESPN platforms, including ESPN, ESPN Radio (with Jon Sciambi, and Chris Singleton), ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, and online via WatchESPN.

ESPN’s Opening Day schedule will feature five matchups, highlighted by a matchup of the 2013 MLB World Series Champion Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles.  That game is scheduled for a 3pm start time.  The complete ESPN Opening Night/Opening Day schedule is listed below.

 

ESPN’s Opening Night and Opening Day Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Sun., Mar. 30 8 p.m. Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres telecast presented by Scotts ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, WatchESPN
Mon., Mar. 31 1 p.m. Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates telecast presented by Scotts ESPN, WatchESPN
Mon., Mar. 31 3 p.m. Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles telecast presented by Scotts ESPN2, WatchESPN
Mon., Mar. 31 4 p.m. St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds telecast presented by Scotts ESPN, WatchESPN
Mon., Mar. 31 7 p.m. Colorado Rockies at Miami Marlins telecast presented by Scotts ESPN2, WatchESPN
Mon., Mar. 31 10 p.m. Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim telecast presented by Scotts ESPN2, WatchESPN

 

ESPN offers audiences fully in depth MLB coverage online at http://espn.go.com/mlb.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Radio’s New Late Afternoon, Evening Lineup Debuts September 9th

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN is set to debut a brand new late afternoon and evening lineup for all of its ESPN Radio affiliates nationwide this coming Monday, September 9th.  The first phase of the new lineup will kick off with the debut of Sedano & Stink at 7pm ET.  The three-hour broadcast is hosted by Jorge Sedano and Mark Schlereth.  It will be followed each night at 10pm ET by the Freddie Coleman Show.

The second phase of ESPN Radio’s new late afternoon and evening lineup will see the debut of the Dan Lebatard Show live from Miami beginning Monday, September 30th.  Lebatard’s show will be a three-hour program airing from 4pm ET to 7pm ET.  It will take on all of the most talked about sports issues of the day.  More details on Lebatard’s new show on ESPN Radio are expected to come soon.  Along with hosting his new program, Lebatard will also continue to host Highly Questionable on ESPN2 every afternoon at 4pm.  Bomani Jones, who joins Lebatard on Highly Questionable, will also join him on his new radio show.

Sedano & Stink, The Freddie Coleman Show, and The Dan Lebatard Show will all be available nationwide on the ESPN Radio network. They will also be available on ESPN Deportes Radio, and online via ESPNRadio.com and through ESPN podcasts.  More information on each of these shows is available online at http://www.espn.com and http://www.facebook.com/ESPN.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Announces Matchup For Last Sunday Night Baseball Broadcast Of 2013

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has made it official.  The “Sports Leader” has announced the matchup for the last game of its regular season coverage for 2013.  On Sunday, September 22nd, ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell will present a matchup of the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers.  The Red Birds are currently in the hunt for the National League Central Division as they come into the game.  They are looking to get back in the win column as they face the NL Central leading Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend in a three-game series beginning tonight.  The Brewers, the Cards’ NL Central foes, are in the basement right now.  They currently sit at 60-80 and are at 3-7 in their last ten games at the time of this posting.

ESPN’s Dan Shulman will anchor the 8pm broadcast.  He will be joined by analysts Orel Hershiser and Jon Kruk and reporter Buster Olney for commentary.  Broadcast of the game (and all ESPN Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell games) will be available on ESPN Radio with Jon Sciambi and analyst Chris Singleton.  ESPN Deportes will also carry the game with Ernesto Jerez, Luis Alfredo Alvarez, Guillermo Celis, and Ozzie Guillen.  All games will also be broadcast on ESPN Deportes Radio and online via WatchESPN.

Before the Cardinals and Brewers go head to head, the Los Angeles Dodgers will face off against The Cincinnati Reds tomorrow night, September 8th.  The Reds are currently in the hunt for a spot in the 2013 postseason.  And next Sunday, September 15th, the Yankees and Red Sox hit the field in the latest round of their ongoing battle.  All broadcasts of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell are preceded by Baseball Tonight at 7pm.

More information on Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell is available online at http://espn.go.com/mlb and http://www.facebook.com/ESPN.  And for all the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with all of the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Announces First Games For Network’s September Sunday Night Baseball Schedule

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN announced today three big games for its schedule of games in September on Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell.  The first of that trio of games pits Marlon Byrd and the New York Mets against Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals in the nation’s capital on September 1st.  The National League showdown will air on ESPN2.  The second of the games will air Sunday, September 8th.  That game will feature a matchup between the currently streaking NL West leading Dodgers—led by Yasiel Puig—and Joey Votto and the Cincinnati Reds.  The third of the newly announced games features the latest round in one of the greatest rivalries in sports.  The Yankees head to hostile ground to face off against their hated foes at Fenway Stadium on Sunday, September 15th in an American League fight as the playoff races heat up.

All three games will be anchored by play-by-play veteran Dan Shulman.  Shulman will be joined by analysts Orel Hershiser and John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney.  All games will be simulcast on ESPN Radio affiliates nationwide.  ESPN Radio broadcasts of Sunday Night Baseball games are anchored by Jon Sciambi.  Sciambi will be joined by analyst Chris Singleton.  Spanish-speaking audiences can also catch the games on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes Radio with Ernesto Jerez, Luis Alfredo Alvarez, Guillermo Celis, and Ozzie Guillen.  All broadcasts are also available online via WatchESPN.

Before September’s games, audiences will get to see the Yankees and Bosox go toe-to-toe yet again this weekend.  The teams will face off this Sunday, August 18th live from Fenway Park.

The current schedule of games on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell is listed below.  Each game is preceded by the network’s pre-game show, Sunday Night Baseball at 7pm ET.

Upcoming Sunday Night Baseball schedule:

Date Game
Aug. 18 New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
Aug. 25 Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers
Sept. 1 New York Mets at Washington Nationals
Sept. 8 Los Angeles Dodgers at Cincinnati Reds
Sept. 15 New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

*An added note for viewers:  ESPN’s final Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell broadcast will be Sunday, September 22nd.

To keep up with the latest baseball on ESPN news, audiences can go online to http://espn.go.com/mlb or “Like” the ESPN Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ESPN.  And to keep up with all of the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Dodgers Host Bosox August 25th On ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball Presented By Taco Bell

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has announced the latest addition to its lineup of games on its weekly Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell broadcast.  Coming up Sunday, August 25th, Hanley Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers will host Dustin Pedroia and the Boston Red Sox as the race to the playoffs heats up.  The game is scheduled to air live at 8pm ET on ESPN.  Dan Shulman will anchor the broadcast.  He will be joined by former Dodgers great and ESPN analyst Orel Hershiser, fellow analyst John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney.

Along with its broadcast on ESPN, the matchup will also be available on ESPN Radio affiliates nationwide and online via WatchESPN.  Jon Sciambi will anchor the broadcast for ESPN Radio.  He will be joined by analyst Chris Singleton.  Spanish speaking audiences can catch the game on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes Radio.  Ernesto Jerez, Luis Alfredo Alvarez, Guillermo Celis, and Ozzie Guillen will have the call for both networks.

The East Coast/West Coast rivalry is just one more rivalry on the Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell schedule.  Coming up this Sunday, August 4th, the Phillies will take on the Atlanta Braves in a modern day battle of North vs. South on the baseball diamond.  The current schedule of games on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell is available below.

Upcoming Sunday Night Baseball schedule:

Date Game
Aug 4 Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies
Aug 11 Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Dodgers
Aug 18 New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
Aug 25 Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers

Upcoming games for the September broadcast schedule will be announced two weeks in advance to the games.  Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell is preceded every Sunday night by Baseball Tonight live at 7pm ET.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Announces Two More Sunday Night Baseball Games

 

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has announced two more games to its current Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell schedule.  Network officials have announced that on Sunday, August 11th, the Dodgers will host the Tampa Bay Rays.  And on Sunday, August 18th, the most storied rivalry in baseball hits its latest round, when the Yankees head to Fenway to take on the Boston Red Sox. 

Each game’s broadcast begins at 8pm EST on ESPN.  Dan Shulman will host the broadcasts.  He will be joined by his broadcast team mates, analysts Orel Hershiser and John Kruk.  Reporter Buster Olney will provide commentary.  Games will be simulcast on ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes with Jon Sciambi manning the mic for ESPN Radio.  He will be joined by analyst Chris Singleton.  The team of Ernesto Jerez, Luis Alfredo Alvarez, and Guillermo Celis will handle broadcast duties for ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes Radio.  Both games will also be available online via WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app.

This week’s matchup on Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell sees the NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals on the road against the NL East leading Atlanta Braves.  And on August 4th, the Braves will be on the road against the Phillies.

Each broadcast of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell is preceded by Baseball Tonight on ESPN at 7pm EST.  For more information on upcoming games, stats, and more on fans’ favorite teams, go online to http://espn.go.com/mlb/

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Yankees/Red Sox Rivalry Returning To ESPN, Angels & White Sox Face Off Tonight On ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball

Courtesy: ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

One of the biggest rivalries in sports re-ignites in its latest round Sunday, June 2nd.  David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox will take on Robinson Cano and the New York Yankees will face off at 8pm that evening.  Dan Shulman will host the evening’s broadcast.  He will be joined by analysts Orel Hershiser and John Kruk.  Buster Olney will be on hand with commentary.

Tonight’s matchup pits the Los Angeles Angels against the Chicago White Sox in the “Windy City.”  Dan Shulman will host the evening’s broadcast along with his colleagues, Orel Hershiser, John Kruk and Buster Olney.  The game will be available across all ESPN platforms including:  ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app for mobile media.  Pre-game starts at 7pm tonight.  The ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Crew offered its thoughts on tonight’s games, which can be viewed right here.

Baseball Tonight analyst Aaron Boone on the C.J. Wilson- Chris Sale matchup:
With Jered Weaver down, C.J. Wilson needs to assume the head of this rotation. They need to be able to hang their hat on his starts and count on him to be close to an ace. Sale needs to get his slider down. While he’s been pretty good, he hasn’t quite been the dominant ace. I’ve seen a little bit of slider elevation from him. If he can get that pitch down, he’s an ace.

Baseball Tonight analyst Alex Cora on Wilson:
I think that the key storyline is C.J. Wilson. We’ve been talking about the Angels being a contender and Weaver being hurt. Here’s a guy that they signed last year to either be their ace or their number two and he hasn’t done it. For them to turn this around, they need him to pitch the way he’s capable of pitching.

MLB Insider Buster Olney on the Angels’ struggles this season:
Early in every season, there are a handful of teams that quickly move into desperation mode, and little more than a month into the 2013 season, that’s where the Angels stand. They cannot afford to lose more ground, and even though it’s May, this team of great stars will be playing with a sense of urgency. The Angels can turn it around, but because of the lack of depth in the pitching staff, the impetus for a comeback has to come from their offensive stars: Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo.

MLB Insider Tim Kurkjian on the Angels facing Sale:
This is a big weekend series, especially for the Angels. They are in danger of falling out of the race in the West unless they start winning immediately. Their come-from-behind win Thursday night might be the spark that finally gets this team going but they are up against Chris Sale on Sunday night. I don’t know how anyone gets a hit off of that guy.

Olney on Sale’s delivery and repertoire:
Chris Sale is a one-of-a-kind pitcher, with an unusual delivery, and a nasty slider.  I think  Orel made a fascinating comparison: Sale reminds you a lot of the former Yankees Cy Young winner Ron Guidry, because of the quality of his slider and his angular build.

ESPN MLB Insider Pedro Gomez on the Angels’ struggles:
The Angels cannot afford to continue to spin their wheels and expect to remain in the AL West race. They need pitching to really start to shine and they absolutely need more production from their two cogs in the middle of their order, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.

Cora on Hamilton’s plate discipline:
He needs to take a step back. We get it, he’s an aggressive hitter. But right now, he’s getting 0-2 pitches in the first pitch of the at-bat. They know he’s swinging. They aren’t even trying to get ahead of him. They are going to the put-out pitch on pitch one because he’s swinging. He needs to be more patient. He has two home runs in last few days but still he needs to take some pitches. The whole league knows that he’s been very aggressive and chasing a lot. He must take a step back and see some good pitches.

ESPN MLB Insider Jim Bowden on keys for the Angels to improve:
The Angels can turn it around but they have to stay healthy. There is not enough depth to withstand injuries, as we’ve seen to date. Hamilton and Pujols must get back to MVP form. The key to the team will be the starting rotation. Blanton and Hanson have to be good enough to win 12 games and pitch 180 innings. A trade for more pitching is a must. Hamilton’s not loading and his timing is not in sync. If he corrects those two flaws he will hit. His bat speed is still there. He also must improve his strike zone awareness and cut down at swinging at balls out of the zone which is at a poor rate of 49%.

Boone on the struggling power hitters in both lineups:
If these teams are going to live up to expectations, their big guys in the middle have to get it going. We need to see production from Konerko and Dunn for the White Sox and Hamilton and Pujols with the Angels.

Cora on White Sox Manager Robin Ventura:
It’s Robin’s second year, so right now it’s his team. Obviously last year he had a great season. They made some changes and lost A.J. So, I think now he’s settled in. It has been a tough month for them, so let’s see what kind of manager he is. Last year, they kind of lost it at the end in September and they seem to be in the same pattern now. We need to see what kind of manager he will be.

Next Sunday on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, the Tigers head to the Lone Star State to take on the Rangers.  The latest Sunday Night Baseball schedule is available below.

Upcoming Sunday Night Baseball schedule:

Date Game
May 12 Los Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox
May 19 Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers
May 26 Atlanta Braves at New York Mets
June 2 Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
July 14 St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
July 21 New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
   

*Additional games for June and July will be announced three weeks in advance, while games for August and September will be made two weeks in advance.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.