For the 29th and final time this season, I am rounding up last week’s CPBL action. It’s time to look back at the Taiwan Series between Chinatrust Brothers, the 2nd phase champions and Taoyuan Lamigo Monkeys, the recent dominant force in Taiwanese baseball.
GAME 1 – Saturday 12th October – Brothers v Monkeys in Taoyuan.
Elih Villeneuva v Radhames Liz.
Game 1 was a tight affair and a great start to the series. In the second phase Brothers had led the head to head 13 to 7 and they took a 2-0 lead in the 2nd through Zhang Chih-Hao’s 2 RBI shot. It wasn’t to last long though,
Lin Hung-Yu got on base, and Chen Chen-Chiu got an RBI to bring it back to 2-1 with no outs in the bottom of the 2nd. Brothers then made an error off a Chu Yu-Hsien shot and Chen Chun Chiu came home, 2-2 with 0 outs. Kuo Yun-Wen and Lin Cheng-Fei were sent back to the dug-outs before Liu Shih-Hao put runners on the corners. A second error of the inning put the Monkeys ahead 3-2 as Chen Chen-Wei successfully got to 1st and Chu Yu-Hsien came home, 3-2. Villenueva was struck out and it remained 3-2 after 2.
Lamigo further increased their lead in the 4th, with 2 on base, Chen Chun Chiu’s sacrifice shot put runners on 2 and 3. Chu Yu-Hsien’s 2 RBI single then got both runners home to make it 5-2.
Brothers got back into the game in the 6th thanks to Wang Wei-Chen’s home run and the game would remain without further score until the 9th. Radhames Liz lasted 7 innings (7H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 9 SO) and Villenueva lasted 8 with a line of 9H, 5R, 3ER, 0BB, 7 SO.
The game hinged on the 9th as Brothers levelled in the top of the inning as legend Peng Zheng-Min hit a 2 RBI double with 2 outs, then put another man on base with 2 outs. Thomas Dominy then walked Wang Wei-Chen before Wang Yue-Lin ended the inning with the game tied at 5-5.
In the bottom of the 9th, Lamigo loaded the bases with 2 outs with pinch hitter Liao Chien-Fu at the plate. He hit a walk-off single and game 1 of the series was over.
Chinatrust Brothers 5-6 Lamigo Monkeys – Monkeys lead the series 1-0
GAME 2 – Sunday 13th October – Brothers v Monkeys in Taoyuan.
Liao Yi-Zhong v Michael Nix
This game was over as a contest in the first inning, Chinatrust Brothers completely ripped Michael Nix to shreds making 6 hits and were walked twice to put them 7-0 with 1 out. Zhang Chih-Hao was the big profiter, hitting a grand slam to take it from 2-0 to 6-0. Wang Wei-Chun came onto pitch but couldn’t stop the bleeding conceding another 4 hits before a double-play ended the inning.
Lamigo pulled a run back in the bottom of the first but another hope of a comeback was quickly extinguished. 3 more Brothers runs in the top of the 2nd was the icing on the cake and anything after, was irrelevant. Brothers didn’t score after whilst Lamigo scored 5 more runs in the game. Liao Yi-Zhong lasted 6.1 and ended with figures of 7H, 5R, 5ER, 1BB, 6 SO with Michael Nix’s figures being a grizzly 0.1 6H, 8R, 8ER, 2BB, 1 SO.
Chinatrust Brothers 13-6 Lamigo Monkeys – series tied 1-1
GAME 3 – Tuesday 15th October – Monkeys v Brothers in Taichung
Wang Yi-Cheng v Mitch Lively
On Sunday, Michael Nix had been smashed around by Brothers on Tuesday it was the turn of Lamigo Monkeys to do that to Mitch Lively. Yes, for the second time in three days, a foreign import gave the game away early but this time the runs came in the 2nd inning.
Two hits were followed up by Chu Yu-Hsien’s RBI and a walk which loaded the bases with 0 outs. Two further walks followed to load the bases twice more, with 2 runs being scored. Chen Chen-Wei struck out before Lin Li made it 4-0, Lan Yin-Lun ground out but a run scored to make it 5-0 and Lin Hung-Yu’s 2 RBI single made it 7. Lively finally got out the inning as he got Chen Chun Chiu out.
Brothers never threatened a comeback making 7-1 in the 4th, before Lamigo scored to make it 8-1 in the 5th and then became 8-2 after 6. 2 late runs in the 8th inning made it 8-4 but Lamigo comfortably held on.
Wang Yi-Cheng lasted in the 8th: 7.1, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 7 SO and Lively lasted 6, 8H, 8R, 8ER, 4BB and 3 SO.
Lamigo Monkeys 8-4 Chinatrust Brothers – Monkeys lead the series 2-1.
GAME 4 – Wednesday 16th October – Monkeys v Brothers in Taichung
This was a pivotal game in the series with Lamigo turning to Thomas Dominy and Brothers turning to Yang Zhi-Long.
In the opening three this was a tight game with Lan Yin-Lun’s 2 run homer put Lamigo 2-0 up in the top of the 2nd. Lamigo went 4-0 ahead through Chen Chen-Wei and Lin Li’s RBIs but Brothers quickly brought it back to 4-3 in the bottom of the inning.
A blank fourth followed but the runs started to flow again in the 5th. Lamigo increased their lead to 8-3 despite starting the inning with 2 outs. They loaded the bases, changed the pitcher and Kuo Yun-Wen hit a grand slam off Casey Harman. Brothers charged back with Zhang Chih Hao scored a 3 run homerun off Lin Bai-You to make it 8-6.
Lin Li put Lamigo 9-6 ahead in the 7th with a home run but Brothers came back once again with Zhang Chih Hao hitting a 2 RBI single to make it 9-8. This was the last time Brothers would come back on the Monkeys as the defending champions launched a full-on assault thereafter whilst keeping tight on the mound.
5 runs in the 8th made it 14-8 and a further run in the top of the 9th made it 15-8 as Brothers usually reliable bullpen bleed runs. Yet it was Yang Zhi-Long who took the loss in his 4.2 innings, 5H, 7R, 7ER, 3BB and 5 SO. Monkeys starter Dominy went 2.2 but it was Chen Yu-Hsun who got the win, 1.2IP, 2H, 0R and 2 SO.
A superb win for the Monkeys who looked as if they’d found their stride again, the experts in play-off baseball were now 1 win away from a three-peat.
Lamigo Monkeys 15-8 Chinatrust Brothers – Monkeys lead the series 3-1.
GAME 5 – Thursday 17th October – Monkeys v Brothers in Taichung
Elih Villenueva v Michael Nix
For game five, Brothers went back to the reliable Elih Villenueva whilst Lamigo turned to the man who’d conceded 8 in 0.1 innings just 4 days before.
Lan Yin-Lun put Lamigo 2 up with a double in the top of the 1st and from there on, it was Lamigo. Liu Shih-Hao hit a grand slam to make it 6-0 and the visitors put 2 more on base with 2 outs as Villenueva was removed after 0.2. Lin Li went the distance off Chen Bo-Hao and it was 9-0. The Taiwan Series looked like it was over after an inning.
Like Lamigo had done on Sunday, Brothers pulled a run back in the bottom of the 1st after conceding heavily in the top of the 1st. Unlike Brothers, Lamigo Monkeys continued to score runs, 1 in the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd and 4 in the 4th made it 15-1 Monkeys. The series was done and Chen Chun-Chiu made it 19-1 in the 6th with a 3 run homerun.
The Monkeys made it 20 in the top of the 9th and Brothers score 2 runs in the bottom of the inning but it was a tiny consolation. Lamigo Monkeys had their three-peat and had done in 5 games just like they did in 2017 v Chinatrust Brothers.
It was a completely savage Lamigo Monkeys performance, 43 runs in 3 games in Taichung said a lot about how good Lamigo were. Brothers had been a force in the second phase but were ruthlessly dispatched in five.
Elih Villenueva took the loss 0.2IP, 4H, 8R, 8ER, 4BB, 2SO with Michael Nix redeeming himself with a solid performance, 6.0IP, 6H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 5SO. It was comprehensive and few would have expected a win in this manner in game five.
Lamigo Monkeys 20-3 Chinatrust Brothers – Taoyuan Lamigo Monkeys win the series 4-1.
This was the final chapter for Lamigo who will be taken over by Rakuten in the close season. 5 championships in 6 years, 3 in a row and there is no doubt at all, that what will be the Rakuten Monkeys will be the team to beat next year.
That was the Taiwan baseball season, that was my last round-up of the year. I’ll be back reporting on baseball again next spring, thank you.