Shafer weighs in on decision to start Allen, play Hunt against Wagner

first_imgWith his decision to start Drew Allen, but also play Terrel Hunt against Wagner on Saturday announced last night, Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer had his first opportunity to weigh in on the choice at the Atlantic Coast Conference coaches’ teleconference on Wednesday.Shafer cited Allen’s tendency to stare down receivers and his four-interception performance in the Orange’s 48-27 loss to then-No. 19 Northwestern this week as reasons for the opportunity, as well as Hunt’s late-game scoring drive working primarily with and against second stringers.“You never want to overreact to a situation and look at it for what it is,” Shafer said.Quarterbacks coach Tim Lester announced on Tuesday night that the coaches had named Allen the starter against the Seahawks while determining Hunt would see the field in some capacity. Hunt was visibly excited about the opportunity to play again on Tuesday.Shafer said that this approach would be taken against any opponent, not just Football Championship Subdivision Wagner which lost to Division II Merrimack earlier this year.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We have a team that’s coming off a championship season that broke records,” Shafer said of the Seahawks, who were Northeast Conference co-champions last year. “Regardless of where they’re at, a championship team’s a championship team, and we need to approach it as any solid football team that we’re going against.” Comments Published on September 11, 2013 at 12:23 pm Contact Stephen: [email protected] | @Stephen_Bailey1 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Fantasy Baseball Trade Value: Bo Bichette, Masahiro Tanaka among buy-low, sell-high candidates

first_imgFantasy Baseball Trade Value: Stock risingTravis d’Arnaud, C TB – Being a Mets fan and watching d’Arnaud be a lousy player for them for a long time, I was a bit skeptical of his hot June in which he hit .274 with five home runs and 15 RBI. However, he’s followed that up with an even better July, in which he is hitting .328 with seven home runs and 23 RBI. The two months combine to total a .302 batting average, 12 home runs, and 38 RBI over his past 35 games. That’s impressive, to say the least. Maybe all the 30-year-old catcher needed was a change of scenery? His BABIP since joining the Rays is .291, so he hasn’t just been getting lucky, either. Over the last six games, he has hit leadoff three times and clean-up the other three, so he is slotting into great spots in the Rays’ lineup to continue to find success. He has taken on a full-time role in which he plays 1B on days he gets off from catching, making him one of the most valuable catching assets in fantasy if that trend continues. Ride the heatwave.Bo Bichette, SS TOR – Bichette was officially called up Monday and he made his MLB debut, finishing 1-4 with a single. He hit sixth in the Jays’ lineup. He is a top-10 prospect and is worth an add in any league where he may be available. Prior to being called up, he was hitting .275 with eight home runs and 15 steals across 56 games at Triple-A Buffalo. Last year, at Double-A New Hampshire, he hit .286 with 11 dingers and 32 stolen bases across 131 games. He is still just 21 and far from reaching his full power potential, but he is talented enough to provide solid fantasy production right now.  Not only does he have the ability to hit to all fields, but he has the ability to hit to all fields with power.Nick Anderson, RP MIA – Anderson is in the closing mix for Miami after they dealt Sergio Romo to Minnesota. He has been pitching very well lately, giving up just two earned runs over his last 12.1 innings (12 appearances), good for a 1.46 ERA. He has been great with strikeouts this year, with a 14.2 K/9 (fourth-best in baseball among pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched) and a 37.1-percent strikeout rate. His .368 BABIP against points to a bit of unluckiness and is likely a factor in why his ERA is higher than his FIP (2.73), xFIP (3.04), and SIERA (2.80). The Marlins haven’t had a save situation arise yet since trading Romo, but if Anderson does in fact take over the role, he will be a very strong fantasy asset the rest of the way with his elite strikeout ability. He is worth picking up if he is out there on the wire.Josh VanMeter, OF CIN – VanMeter is extremely hot right now, hitting .464 with four home runs and 10 runs scored over his last 10 games. His profile is a bit of a mixed bag, which isn’t all that surprising for a player with only 74 at-bats. His .373 BABIP is not sustainable and will likely lead to a drop in batting average over time, but his 50.9-percent hard contact rate is a fantastic mark. He also has a very impressive 34.5-percent line-drive rate and 90.4 mph exit velocity. He is a rookie, and pitchers will likely make adjustments against him over time, so he will need to make adjustments if wants to keep up what he has done to this point. He is worth adding in most fantasy formats right now while he is swinging a hot bat.Fantasy Baseball Trade Value: Stock fallingNicky Lopez, SS KC – Lopez garnered some fantasy appeal from many (not myself) when he was called up to the big leagues on May 14th, after hitting .353 with three home runs and nine steals across 31 games at Triple-A Omaha this year. His ability to steal bases was looked at as a valuable asset to any fantasy roster. Well, that was then, and this is now: Lopez is hitting .222 with one home run and one stolen base through 63 games with the Royals. Things are even worse in the month of July, as he is hitting .177 with no home runs or steals this month across 23 games. For the year, he has an atrocious hard contact rate of 27.5-percent and is hitting ground balls at an unsightly rate of 62.8-percent. His 83.8 mph exit velocity ranks in the 3rd percentile, his hard contact rate ranks in the 2nd percentile, and his .274 xSLG somehow ranks in the 0th percentile. Yes, you read that correctly. Considering that his xSLG is dead last in all of baseball (among hitters with at least 200 plate appearances), I guess it makes sense. This is not a player that should be owned in any fantasy format. Griffin Canning, SP LAA – It appeared that Canning had found his groove at the big-league level, pitching to a 3.61 ERA across 10 starts in May and June, but he has been a disaster in July. In four outings this month, he has a 12.34 ERA across 11.2 innings pitched. In that span, he has given up 18 hits and walked 11 batters. His ERA for the year is now up to an unsightly 5.15 mark. He has been a bit unlucky, with his SIERA, FIP, and xFIP all lower than his ERA, but they range between 4.32-and-4.83, so even if he wasn’t getting unlucky he would not be doing too well. His 9.70 K/9 is good, but his BB/9 of 3.07 is atrocious, and he gives up way too many fly balls with his 46.5-percent fly-ball rate (would be the second-highest in the league if he had enough innings to qualify). It might be time to cut bait in fantasy.Masahiro Tanaka, SP NYY – Over his last five starts, Tanaka has given up six, four, two, five and 12 runs, for a total of 29 over 22.1 innings pitched (11.69 ERA). Calling it a rough stretch would be an understatement. His ERA for the year is up to 4.79, which is pretty close to his 4.57 FIP. He has a .286 BABIP against too, which is right in line with his career norm. So what’s the deal? For starters, he is giving up hard contact at the highest rate of his career at 41.2-percent. His strikeouts are way down with a 7.63 K/9 (9.17 K/9 in 2018), and more contact results in more hits. His fastball velocity has dropped for the fourth consecutive year. One of his biggest issues has been his ineffectiveness against lefty bats. Last season, lefties had a .236/.286/.367 triple-slash line against him with eight home runs. This season, lefties have produced a .285/.333/.516 line against him and already have 11 home runs. He is droppable in shallow leagues, while deeper leagues should be very worried about his ROS outlook.Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch: Potential waiver wire pickupsAsher Wojciechowski, SP BAL – Wojciechowski had an outstanding outing against the Red Sox in which he first 7.1 innings of one-hit, no-run baseball. He followed that up by holding the Angels to two runs over seven innings in his next start. I have seen a lot of other people in the fantasy industry falling in love with him and recommending him as a fantasy-viable option to their followers, but I am going to do the opposite and pump the breaks here. Yes, he has had two great starts, and that’s great and all, but he’s still a 30-year-old pitcher with a career ERA north of five. Prior to facing the Red Sox, he had given up 10 earned runs across 15 innings pitched (6.00 ERA) in his first three starts this year. He has given up hard contact at a high rate of 40.3-percent this year and has only induced soft contact 15.3-percent of the time but, despite that, his BABIP against is only .224. That doesn’t add up at all. He is giving up fly balls at an extremely high rate of 54.2-percent (would be the highest in all of baseball), and when you factor in that he is giving up a lot of hard contact, his HR/FB rate of 12.8-percent is not sustainable, especially considering he pitches his home games in a hitter’s ballpark. His Barrel % against of 12.5-percent would be the worst of his career, as would his exit velocity against of 89.4 mph. His last two starts are enough of a reason for me to pay attention to him, but I would not be running to the waiver wire to pick him up. We have a pretty interesting group of names this week, with three 30-year-old players and the other five being rookies. It just goes to show, whether a veteran or a rookie, a player’s fantasy value will continue to fluctuate. You always want to keep up with the trends and be ready to buy low or sell high when the timing is right. Without further ado, let’s dive in to this week’s stock watch.MORE:  Fantasy Alarm PRO toolslast_img read more

Duo strike to send KCCA nine clear

first_imgBY Hippos 0  KCCA 2Soana   2 URA 1Sadolin 1 Maroons 0Express 2 Lweza 0KCCA’s chances of winning a 11th national league title got even better on Saturday after they saw off stubborn JMC Hippos 2-0 in Jinja to go nine points clear at the top of the Azam Uganda Premier soccer League.Defender Denis Okot and striker Derrick Nsibambi scored the goals as manager Mike Mutebi’s side moved to 51 points, nine ahead of second-placed Vipers with six matches to go. They have, however, played one game more than coach George Nsimbe’s Vipers, the defending champions.Having ceded ground in a 1-1 draw with Lweza on Tuesday to allow Vipers cut their lead to six points on the same day, KCCA again watched on as the defending champions lost to Bul 1-0 on Friday.All they had to do the following day was just to win at Kakindu in Jinja, one of hardest grounds to visit.KCCA did just that, Okot opening the scoring on the stroke of half time before Nsibambi, netting his second in four days, added the other nine minutes after on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Messi on the bench as record-breaker Ansu Fati starts for Barcelona

first_imgDortmund, Germany | AFP |  Teenage star Ansu Fati became Barcelona’s youngest ever Champions League debutant after being named in the starting line-up for the Catalan giants’ campaign opener away to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.The 16-year-old, who became the club’s youngest ever scorer with his maiden strike against Osasuna last month, gets the nod ahead of Lionel Messi, who returns to the squad after several weeks out injured.At 16 years and 322 days, Fati is around two months younger than the previous record holder Bojan Krkic was when he made his Champions League debut in 2007.Should he score against Dortmund, the Guinea-Bissau talent would become the youngest player ever to score in the competition, overhauling a 22-year-old record held by former Olympiakos player Peter Ofori-Quaye.Messi, who has missed the beginning of the season with a calf injury, will start on the bench against Dortmund. Share on: WhatsApp Coach Ernesto Valverde said Monday that he would decide spontaneously whether or not to let Messi play.“He has trained two or three times and made a good impression. We will see,” said Valverde.Tuesday’s game marks the beginning of a gruelling Group F campaign for Barcelona and Dortmund, as they look to qualify ahead of Inter Milan and Slavia Prague.last_img read more

The Opinionated Spectator…Preseason Relevance

first_imgPittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger fumbles the ball during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)Don’t you remember when the Steelers were relevant? The Steelers were an absolute force to be reckoned with. And the preseason was fun.The starters would come out onto the field, flex their muscles, score their points, and scare their opponents. The preseason was a taste of the ultimate beat down that the Steelers were going to reign on their opponents in the regular season. It was delicious.Although it was the preseason, the first half of the game was must-see television. It was our own black and gold version of the hunger games.On Thursday, August 21, 2014, the Steelers lost to Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 31-21 and it wasn’t as close as the score indicates.What happened to my delicious appetizer?There is only one word to describe last night’s performance. ABYSMALAlexis CobbIn terms of the Steelers’ records, this loss means nothing. Zilch. They don’t get penalized for it in the regular season. However, let’s look at this game with our postseason relevancy lenses.First and foremost, just when the players were gaining confidence from last week’s win against the Buffalo Bills, the players are back to square one. Rather than having to answer questions pertaining to hope and cautious optimism about the team’s future, the veterans must answer questions on losing and the possibility of another postseason absence.During training camp, Mike Tomlin stated, “We step into stadiums with one goal in mind and that is to win.”He is right. That has been the goal. Unfortunately, winning has not been the final product.And after watching Thursday’s game, winning was never an option. At halftime, the starters were losing by 17-0 and the fans were hoping that the Steelers would score to avoid a blowout.While many people don’t put much stock in the preseason, these preseason losses have been symptomatic of the Steelers regular season and subsequent lack of playoff appearances.In the 2013 season, the Steelers lost all four preseason games. You think that wasn’t indicative of their actual season? It was. The Steelers started the year with 4 consecutive losses, a bye week and finally managed to beat the NY Jets, which frankly, was nothing to be proud of. Their regular season record was 8-8 and the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t make the postseason.Also, in the 2012 season, the Steelers once again lost several preseason games and went on to finish the year at 8-8.  They didn’t make the playoffs that year either.The last time the Steelers qualified to play in the postseason was in 2011. They played against the Denver Broncos and their starting quarterback was Tim Tebow. Tebow singlehandedly beat the Steelers in overtime.Think about those chilling facts, ladies and gentlemen. The Steelers have been irrelevant for so long that we have to recall when Tim Tebow started for an NFL team to dredge up memories of the Steelers most recent playoff history. That’s unacceptable.The Steelers need to fix their offensive and defensive problems so they can have a fighting chance at having a successful year and making the playoffs this year. They don’t need to be somewhere biting their nails hoping another team loses so they can snag a wildcard spot.Many of the Pittsburgh Steeler’s training camp practices have open to the public and the Pittsburgh Steelers fans are famished for some quality football. They cheer for the slightest improvement. They desperately want their team to be relevant again.Pittsburgh fans think they are entitled to greatness on the football field because they have six championships and a history of prolonged success and relevance.So while some people may think, hey it’s just a preseason game. No Big Deal. They are wrong.  These games mean something. They give the players a chance to build their confidence. They give teams a chance to build camaraderie. They are the stepping stones that help build the foundation for the upcoming season. And this season’s foundation seems shaky. REALLY REALLY Shaky.So, I’m asking the Steelers to pull themselves together. Do not be satisfied with being irrelevant and watching others become dominant. Shake off this foolishness, band together as a team and play some winning football.Alexis Sara Cobb may be reached at:  [email protected] or (724) 561-8082  Follow her on Twitter: @alexissaralast_img read more