#5ToFollow

by | April 18, 2014 at 2:00 AM | #5ToFollow, Barclays Premier League, ESPN, Fox Sports 1, MLB, NBA, NBC Sports, NBC Sports Network, Soccer

Vance McCullough, the voice of @XFINITYSports, delivers his analysis of the five key games to watch online, paired with five Twitter follows to give you insider information on the matchup. Have a matchup that you’d like Vance to feature? Tweet @XFINITYSports with the hashtag #5ToFollow.

1. Nets vs. Raptors

Details: Saturday, April 19 @ 12:30 PM ET – Air Canada Centre – Toronto, Canada

Watch Here: ESPN on XFINITY

Why Watch? Who saw this coming? The Toronto Raptors… Let me say that again, THE TORONTO RAPTORS are the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and host the offseason signing heavyweights, the Brooklyn Nets. Toronto has been so impressive after trading away their star player, Rudy Gay. The Canadian club’s newfound success can be summarized in one stat: record with Gay 7-12, record without Gay 41-22. The Nets have a veteran club, with championship experience, and a deep roster. Can Kidd continue to coach at a high level and get his players to perform in the playoffs? It comes down to Jay-Z vs. Drake. It comes down to America vs. Canada. It comes down to game one and I cannot wait!

#5ToFollow Insider: J.E. Skeets
The co-host of NBATV’s #TheStarters and Canadian born and bred, Skeets will bring you the best from the NBA Playoffs opener – Brooklyn vs. Toronto!

Up-to-the-Second Coverage:

2. Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona

Details: Saturday, April 19 @ 1:08 PM ET – Detroit, MI – Comerica Park

Watch Here: FOXSports 1 on XFINITY

Why Watch? The MVP race has been between Trout and Cabrera. It’s 324 games plus, two full seasons, of Mike vs. Miguel. Saturday they take the diamond and display their dominance on FS1. It’s going to be epic. Wait there’s more? How about last year’s CY winner, Max Scherzer, on the bump for the Motor City and the straightedge lefty, C.J. Wilson, hurling the ball for the Halos. AND, Albert Pujols is four shy of 500 homers. Let’s make sure we take nothing for granted when so much greatness is packed into one game. Stand up for the anthem, remove your hat, and then take a seat as Detroit and LA’s Angels play ball Saturday afternoon.

#5ToFollow Insider: MLB Social
Your source for the top trends of the #MLB on Twitter is MLB Social – follow along to jump into conversations on the game’s biggest moments.

Up-to-the-Second Coverage:

3. Grizzlies vs. Thunder

Details: Saturday, April 19 @ 9:30 PM ET – Chesapeake Arena – Oklahoma City, OK

Watch Here: ESPN on XFINITY

Why Watch? You won’t find a more spirited, competitive series than this! OKC is ready for a ring. Russell Westbrook is taking no prisoners. Kevin Durant has possibly dethroned the King and claimed his first, and deserved, MVP season. The Ibaka will block ya. This team is ready. The Memphis Grizzlies are not your regular seventh seed – this group of Grizzlies are contenders. They have the best bigs in the playoffs. They have the grit and grind of Tony Allen’s shutdown defense. It’s Memphis who are the underdogs, and that’s just the way they like it. OKC won three of their four regular season match ups, but a couple came when Gasol was either out with an injury, or just coming back. With both teams at full force, expect the inconceivable effort and unfathomable finishes. This is, however, the NBA Playoffs!

#5ToFollow Insider: Chris Faulkner
Faulkner has completed the first step and admitted his addiction to the Memphis Grizzlies! He’s the Managing Editor of the Grizzly Bear Blues, SB Nation’s Grizz blog, and is in my starting five of #5ToFollow!

Up-to-the-Second Coverage:

4. Liverpool vs. Norwich City

Details: Sunday, April 20 @ 7:00 AM ET – Carrow Road – Norwich, Norfolk, U.K.

Watch Here: NBCSN on XFINITY

Why Watch? The Canaries are treading water and Sunday’s match could mean they sink, or they swim. It’s the title front-runner, the Reds paying a visit to Carrow Road, where Norwich has played remarkably well, but will need a masterful performance to keep their Premier League membership alive for another season. They sit just outside of the relegation zone, 17th on the table, with only two points separating them from the 18th seeded Fulham Cottagers. With new manager, Neil Adams, at the helm, you can count on a spirited showing. While the Yellow Army will fight to stay afoot, Liverpool controls their own destiny in the Premier League title race. With Sturridge (20) and Suarez (29) knocking on the record for goals scored in a season (55 goals by teammates Cole and Beardsley. Newcastle ’93/94), we could set the net rattling early and often. Get up for a great game as the BPL on NBC inches closer to an epic finale!

#5ToFollow Insider: Michael Bailey
The Mustard Sports Norwich City Insider will be live at the grounds Sunday for a must-win match for the Canaries. Follow for the info of this showdown of two sides with must to play for, but such different reasons.

Up-to-the-Second Coverage:

5. Orioles vs. Red Sox

Details: Sunday, April 20 @ 7:00 PM ET – Fenway Park – Boston, MA

Watch: ESPN on XFINITY

Why Watch? The O’s and Red Sox are in the backend of their four-game set as Sunday Night Baseball brings us the third game of this early season series. The Orioles are a scrappy bunch with a solid core and a makeshift staff, which could stir it up in the AL East. Their prize pitcher, Ubaldo Jimenez (four-year, $50 million), will take the ball for the birds. The home team will have former Cy Young award winner, Jake Peavy, taking the start. Peavy has been tossing swing-and-miss stuff in his three prior starts this season, totaling 20 K’s in 18 innings pitched. In the box, the Orioles hottest hitter has been their All-Star catcher, Matt Wieters. Wieters is hitting over .360 vs. right handed pitching, so keep an eye on this switch-hitting slugger. The Sox biggest impact bat has been that of the bearded one, Mike Napoli. Napoli has had past success against Jimenez, hitting two HRs and collecting four hits against the O’s starter. Big arms, big bats, a big game in the AL East is your #5ToFollow finale!

#5ToFollow Insider: Roch Kubatko
The Orioles beat-writer for MASNsports will big live from Boston’s cathedral, Fenway Park. For the scenes pre and post game, follow the School of Roch!

Up-to-the-Second Coverage: