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Beat writers predict a tough start to ACC play for Syracuse against Virginia Tech

first_img Published on December 30, 2017 at 8:46 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ Sam Fortier (12-1)The word “Hokie”Virginia Tech 70, Syracuse 67Blistering offense meets stalwart defense. This game is a toss-up, but Virginia Tech’s balanced scoring — five players averaging double-digit scoring numbers — and the likely absence of half of Syracuse’s crucial center rotation nudges this matchup in the Hokies’ favor. That said, center Paschal Chukwu could build off his career game against Eastern Michigan (15 points, 11 rebounds) and compensate but it’ll be more difficult against 6-foot-10, 252-pound Hokies center Kerry Blackshear. The Orange could escape teams like Buffalo when it had to piecemeal that inside presence, but the Hokies are different.Matthew Gutierrez (12-1)Technical difficultiesVirginia Tech 82, Syracuse 67Remember last year, when the Hokies exploited the interior of Syracuse’s zone in Blacksburg for an 83-73 win? All it did was foreshadow several weeks of Syracuse’s road woes. While the Orange gets VT at home this season, the result will be the same. VT can spin the ball inside and score from multiple areas of the court. Not to mention that the Hokies beat Washington on a neutral floor and nearly beat Kentucky. Count this as a win for the Hokies.Tomer Langer (12-1)Wake-up callVirginia Tech 76, Syracuse 68AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange has jetted off to its best nonconference start since the 2013-2014 season. Syracuse has done so by flashing a much stronger defense than it had a year ago. Still, this team has shown some clear flaws, namely in its oftentimes stagnant and predictable offense. The two schools have played each other closely in recent years and this season’s matchup should be no different. And as strong as SU is on defense this year, VT might even be better on offense, as the Hokies rank first in the country in effective field goal percentage, per Kenpom.com. VT is ranked as the second-best team Syracuse has played at home so far this season, other than Maryland. But Maryland’s core players were all younger than VT’s, and when the Terrapins came to the Dome it was their third game in four nights. If Syracuse can play lock-down defense and squeeze just enough out on offense, then it’ll have a chance. I don’t think the offense will do enough, though. Commentslast_img read more

Dodgers break out in first game but lose nightcap to split doubleheader with Giants

first_img Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season PreviousLos Angeles Dodgers’ Chase Utley (26) is congratulated after scoring against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)San Francisco Giants’ Alen Hanson, left, celebrates with Derek Law after hitting a three-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)San Francisco Giants’ Pablo Sandoval, right, high-fives catcher Nick Hundley (5) after pitching against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. The Dodgers won 15-6. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsSan Francisco Giants’ Pablo Sandoval, right, is greeted by manager Bruce Bochy after pitching against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, right, scores next to San Francisco Giants catcher Nick Hundley during the eighth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)San Francisco Giants’ Pablo Sandoval pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the ninth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)San Francisco Giants’ Alen Hanson hits a three-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)San Francisco Giants’ Alen Hanson, right, celebrates after hitting a three-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp, left, and Cody Bellinger celebrate after they scored on a double by Joc Pederson against the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig reacts after fouling a ball off of his foot against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chase Utley hits an RBI-double against the San Francisco Giants during the sixth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler throws against the San Francisco Giants during the fourth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)San Francisco Giants’ Alen Hanson (19) is congratulated after hitting a three-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler (21) throws against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) walks off the field with manager Dave Roberts, left, and a trainer after catching San Francisco Giants’ Nick Hundley’s fly ball for an out during the first inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor (3) is congratulated by manager Dave Roberts, left, after scoring against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor, right, hits a solo home run in front of San Francisco Giants catcher Nick Hundley during the second inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig, center, walks off the field with manager Dave Roberts, left, and a trainer after catching San Francisco Giants’ Nick Hundley’s fly ball for an out during the first inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chase Utley (26) is congratulated after scoring against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)San Francisco Giants’ Alen Hanson, left, celebrates with Derek Law after hitting a three-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)NextShow Caption1 of 18San Francisco Giants’ Alen Hanson, left, celebrates with Derek Law after hitting a three-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)ExpandSAN FRANCISCO –Thirteen hours after the players reported to the ballpark to play seven hours’ worth of baseball, a light rain briefly fell on AT&T Park Saturday night.No doubt Dave Roberts could have found a silver lining even in those clouds.“It’s a tough month for us,” the Dodgers manager said after his team split Saturday’s doubleheader with the San Francisco Giants, once again failing to gain any positive traction on this season. “The solace is that no one’s making excuses and we’re playing hard. Guys are trying to make pitches. It’s just not happening right now. That’s encouraging. It really is.”Roberts might land on the DL with a strained oblique reaching for positive signs in the fact that “no one’s making excuses” about the way the Dodgers have underachieved over the past month. But he insists there is value in that “when you’re playing and you’re getting beat and you’re not playing up to your abilities but you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and saying, ‘We’ve got to get better’ as opposed to making excuses about why you’re not winning.” How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco It was the first time since 1994 the Dodgers had two players each score four runs in a game and the first time since September 1930 those two players were the No. 1 and 2 hitters in the starting lineup.“I think everyone saw the ball pretty well,” Pederson said. “We’d been scuffling a little bit. It was nice that everyone could contribute and give our pitchers some breathing room and let them get comfortable again.”It did make it easier for Buehler to settle down after an erratic first inning.Buehler needed 34 pitches to navigate the first inning of his second big-league start. He walked one, threw a run-scoring wild pitch and did himself some more harm by missing the bag while covering first on what should have been an inning-ending ground ball.The Giants scored twice in that inning but Buehler stabilized after that to get through five innings. After his first-inning struggles, Buehler threw first-pitch strikes to the next 12 Giants batters and retired 12 of the 15 batters he faced before coming out of the game after throwing 94 pitches (the most in a game as a professional) in five innings.“You start trying to beat guys with location instead of velocity. You kind of find your release point,” Buehler said of the adjustments he made after the first inning. “The first inning, the misses weren’t all one way. So to me, I call it ‘sprayed missing.’ The first start I yanked a lot so there was a lot of pull-side misses. The first inning it was just kind of all over. You try to re-set the system and at least miss just one side of that. I was able to locate it better.”After the game, Buehler was optioned to Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, not Triple-A Oklahoma City – an indication the Dodgers want to keep him close and might have him in their short-term plans.The offense carried over into the second game – but not for long.The first three Dodgers reached base against Giants starter Johnny Cueto including a two-run home run by Corey Seager. After that, though, Cueto didn’t give up another hit in six innings, retiring 18 of the last 20 batters he faced.Dodgers starter Alex Wood was good early, retiring 12 of the first 13 batters he faced. But the Giants strung together four consecutive hits in the fifth inning and took the lead on Austin Jackson’s three-run double.The Giants broke it open with four runs in the eighth inning against the Dodgers’ struggling bullpen, turning a one-run game into something less compelling. Dodgers relievers have been charged with 20 runs over 18 1/3 innings this week.“You have to understand that this is just a bad stretch,” Roberts said. “I know with the talent we have if we continue to put forth that effort and prepare the right way and play that way, wins will be there.“It’s more magnified right now and it’s not pretty. It seems like we’re coming up on the short end of things but we’ve got to keep playing. It’s all we can do.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start That’s just as well — it would be hard to pin things down to one explanation. Saturday was another example of the Dodgers showing progress only to slide back into sluggish play.In the first game, the Dodgers’ offense pounded the Giants for season-highs in hits (20) and runs, backing Walker Buehler in a 15-6 defeat.But in the second game, the Dodgers went quietly, managing just two hits after the first inning in an 8-3 loss.The day started well enough. Ten of the first 14 Dodgers hitters reached base and they scored eight runs in the first three innings of the opener. The Dodgers finished the game with nine extra-base hits – a solo home run by Chris Taylor, back-to-back RBI triples by Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson later that inning and six doubles (three by Chase Utley).Related Articles Utley and Pederson each had four-hit games (the first of Pederson’s career). Taylor and Bellinger had three-hit games. Pederson drove in four runs, Bellinger three. Taylor and Utley each scored four times.last_img read more