Disclaimer, I am not a baseball expert nor am I a proper journalist and I’m writing this from a fan’s perspective. This is part one, an introduction to my Uni Lions end of season review.
It’s October 30th 2018, Uni Lions have just tied the Taiwan Series at 2-2 and there are 3 games left in the series. Momentum looks to be with the Lions having been 2-0 down but, two days later and Lamigo deliver a crushing blow with an 11-2 win in Tainan. By Saturday evening, the series is over as Lamigo score six 7th inning runs in a 10-3 victory. Tears flowed but there were reasons to be optimistic at this stage.
This was a Lions team who’d won 57 games in 2017; lost in the first round of the playoffs then won 64 games in 2018 and took defending champions Lamigo Monkeys to 6 games. Things seemed to be looking up. We had lots of young talent and whilst there were obvious cracks, we had been improving. Lamigo Monkeys didn’t seem like that impenetrable force anymore, and with their star Wang Po Jung headed to Japan, there was a degree of hope Uni Lions could go one further in 2019…
The 2019 regular season ended on 3rd October at Xinzhuang Stadium with a crushing 18-4 defeat to Fubon Guardians. It was the third Lions double-digit loss in a row, and the team finished with a 48-2-70 record. So how did things go from an optimistic pre-season mood, which inspired this ill-fated prediction, to a table that looked like this 11 months on?
The short answer is injuries. Case closed and there you have your end of season review. No, this end of season review is going to be a breakdown of every aspect of the Lions season taking a closer look at the hitting, the fielding and pitching. I did have four concerns which I noted in my pre-season prediction and will also cover those: Lions in Taoyuan; consistency, injuries and bullpen.
In part two, I am going to be looking at the pitching.