CPBL round-up – week 27

Just before I start, Peng Zheng-min the 18 season Brother Elephants/Chinatrust Brothers 1st baseman played his final games this week. Even as an opposition fan, despite not having seen him in his heyday, any player who has a career average of 0.333 over 1797 games and still average 0.302 and play 89 games at 41 years old is a LEGEND. Brothers will miss him a lot, and I’m sure a lot of Taiwanese neutrals, fans of other teams will miss CHIA-CHIA!

Fubon Guardians v Lamigo Monkeys – Tues 24th/Wed 25th in Taoyuan

A sense of normality resumed with the tropical storm affecting northern Taiwan having moved away during Sunday/Monday.

Fubon scored regularly early on to lead 5-0 after 4, but as Mike Loree exited after 75 pitches and 5 innings, things fell apart albeit temporarily… Fan Yu-yu conceded 2H, 2BBs and 4 runs without an out, the Monkeys were level but then proceeded to throw the game away. The inexperienced Monkeys bullpen allowed Fubon to move 12-5 up in the 7th, there was a minor comeback but in the end, a comfortable 13-7 Guardians win.

Two first-inning homers set the Guardians up for another win in Taoyuan on Wednesday. Michael Nix would concede 8H, 4R over his 6 as Travis Banwart got his first CPBL win as he kept the Monkeys to 2 runs in his 5.2. It was 4-2 with both foreigners gone, Fubon scored two further runs later in the game to record a 6-2 victory and put the pressure back on Brothers.

Uni Lions v Chinatrust Brothers – Wed 25th/Thurs 26th in Taichung

With the away side officially out of playoff contention, although having not been in it in practical terms for weeks this was the start of their final full week. Brothers lead 2-1 after 6 and would extend their lead to 7-1 in the 7th. 4 of the 7 Brothers runs in the game were unearned with 2 Lions errors. Mitch Lively picked up his 9th win of the year for the home side, 4H, 1R, 3SO over 7 innings. Lions 1-7 Brothers was how it finished. Chia Chia made two hits…

Legend v legend on Thursday in Taichung as Pan Wei-lun met Peng Zheng-min for the final time. The 37-year-old pitching legend met the 41-year-old batting legend, and it was Pan who came out on top. Pan lasted 5.2, giving up 7R (6ER) and 8 hits, but got his 8th victory of the season as Uni Lions lead 9-7 when he exited the game. Brothers got it back to 9-8, with a 3rd run in the 6th coming off Lin Chih-wei. No bullpen issues for the Lions as they scored three times more, and didn’t even give up a hit. Lions 12-8 Brothers, Chia Chia went 0 for 4.

Lamigo Monkeys v Uni Lions – Fri 27th/Sat 28th/Sun 29th in Tainan

The final three games of the CPBL season in Tainan, Uni Lions final three games at home could be described by the idiom “lambs to the slaughter”. Aside from Friday’s game, this resembled more like an elongated batting practice for the play-off bound Monkeys than a competitive series.

On Friday Uni Lions gave a debut to 19-year-old pitcher Gui Lin Rui Yang, one of three teenagers to make his Lions debut over the three games. (Wu Cheng-yu and Shih Kuan-yu the other two) To be fair to Gui or Gui Lin (I’m not sure what is proper parlance), 5H, 3R (2ER) over 5 to a strong Monkeys side wasn’t a bad showing. 0 runs in the opening 5 for the Lions so the youngster would take the loss, but it would only be a 6-1 defeat.

Saturday’s game saw 4th choice catcher Hsieh Zhong-wei make a rare first-team appearance and Ryan Verdugo probably appeared for the final time in Lions colours. 3 massive home-runs helped propel Lamigo to a 10-2 lead after 4 innings although Kuo Fu-lin and Yao Yu-hsiang did notably go back to back off Radhames Liz in the 2nd for the home side. No more homers in the game but Lamigo put 19 on the weakened Lions mainly consisting of young players and second-teamers. 19-3 with Kuo Yen-wen making 6 RBI for the Monkeys.

Sunday’s game was almost the same as Saturdays with the Monkeys racking up a 13-3 lead with 4 played. The former rookie of the year Shih Tzu-chien conceded 7H, 9R in 0.2 in the 3rd although bizarrely only one of these was earned… 3 and 2 more runs respectively as the Lions final home game of the season finished 17-5 to Lamigo Monkeys.

Fubon Guardians v Chinatrust Brothers – Fri 27th/Sat 28th/Sun 29th in Taichung

This was a slightly more competitive and important series. A sweep would give Brothers the second phase title and Chia Chia would play retire after playing for 18 seasons…

Brothers edged Friday’s game, a CPBL legend in his own right Lin Chih-sheng’s walk-off hit gave Brothers a 2-1 victory to push them to within 2 games of the second phase title. Lin Yi-hao was the unlucky Guardians reliever who conceded the run… Chia Chia went 0 for 4.

Chia Chia’s penultimate game, and the first of two sellouts in Taichung. In ordinary circumstances, this would still have attracted at least 8-10 thousand but was sold out 2 months ago… Tied at 2-2, Brothers took the lead in the 5th thanks to Wang Sheng-wei’s RBI and wouldn’t look back. Elih Villeneuva had another strong start (5H, 2R) over 8 as Brothers took a 5-2 victory with their 4th/5th runs coming in the 7th. Chia Chia went 1 for 2 with an RBI and a walk. Brothers were all set, Chia Chia’s retirement and the magic number set at 1…

It was Mike Loree v Casey Harman with 20,223 in attendance to see a legend’s final retirement and Brothers secure a play-off berth with 4 games to spare? Against Loree, it wouldn’t be easy… Harman lasted 4.2, taken off after 99 pitches but with the scores level. Loree would last 7 and 94 pitches with the scores still level at 1-1… 1-1, top of the 9th was it to be? No. Former Brothers player Chiang Chih-hsien hit a solo home run to put the Guardians 2-1 up. With an ERA of 1.70 and 19 saves, another former Brothers player Chen Hong-wen got the save. Chia Chia went 0 for 3, Brothers are still 1 game away…

Next week’s schedule is a mish-mash of rearranged games. 3 teams may well be in the play-offs. Lamigo are 0.5 ahead of Fubon in the overall standings with 3 to play. We could have an incredulous situation where Lamigo are 1st phase champions, Brothers win the 2nd phase but Fubon Guardians lead the overall standings… Fubon would then play the side with the worst record in a 5 game series, and I’ve frankly no idea who would get home advantage, it’s never happened before.

Brothers need 1 win to secure the 2nd phase, Fubon need to come ahead of Lamigo in the overall standings or somehow win the 2nd phase to have any chance of being in the play-offs.

Guardians v Brothers – Tuesday in Taichung at 6:35pm, a Brothers win will secure the second phase and all but eliminate Fubon from playoff contention.

Brothers v Monkeys – Wednesday in Taoyuan at 6:35pm. Brothers second chance if needed… A Brothers win could allow Fubon a lifeline if Brothers have secured the 2nd phase on Tuesday…

Lions v Guardians – Thursday at Xinzhuang at 6:35pm. Lions last game of the season, potentially Fubon’s too depending on the previous two nights.

Brothers v Monkeys – Friday and Saturday in Taoyuan at 6:35pm. The likely Taiwan Series match-up. Fubon are likely to need Brothers to win both if they are still in contention to come top in the overall standings.

A long report, I’ll be bringing CPBL round-up week 28 next Sunday/Monday, with a report on either the one or two CPBL series depending on what happens…






CPBL round-up – week 26

We are now approaching the final part of the regular season and of course, this is another round-up that ought to have been posted a week ago! Let’s review the action from Tuesday 17th to Sunday 23rd September…

Chinatrust Brothers v Fubon Guardians – Tues 17th/Wed 18th at Xinzhuang

This was a match-up between the best two teams in the second phase with just 1.5 games separating the sides. Brothers extended their lead with two victories in two very close games.

On Tuesday Zhang Chih-hao’s 2nd inning two-run homer put Brothers ahead and they would extend the lead to 4-0 during the 7th. Fubon pulled it back to 4-3 after 8 but CC Lee got the save as Brothers held on for a 4-3 victory.

Wednesday’s game saw a battle of the ‘MLs’,  Mitch Lively and Mike Loree took to the mound and it was always going to a be a low scoring game. Lively stayed on for 7, Loree for 8. Brothers got 2 runs in the 2nd but then Loree wouldn’t allow another hit. Fubon finally scored in the 7th to make it 2-1 before Chen Tzu-hao made it 3-1 in the top of the 9th. CC Lee got back to back saves and Brothers their 30th win of the phase.

Uni Lions v Lamigo Monkeys – Wed 18th/Thurs 19th in Taoyuan

There’s always a feeling of dread when Uni Lions go to Taoyuan and not for the first time, the bullpen blew a lead late in the game. Wu Chieh-rui’s RBI and Lin Tzu-chieh’s 2 RBI shot put the Lions 3-0 in the 3rd, this lead would hold until the bottom of the 9th. Chen Yun-wen allowed 3 walks, 2 hits and 3 runs in 0.2 as Lamigo tied up the game. Both bullpens would then hold firm, as the game was called a draw at 3-3 after 12 innings.

Thursday’s game was a bit more typical of usual meetings between the two in Taoyuan although after Lamigo 6-4 after 6, it looked to be close. 6 hits, 2 walks and 9 runs in 0.1 in the bottom of the 7th put Lamigo 15-6 up. The Monkeys would score 11 (ELEVEN) in the 7th and both teams would add a further run late on. Lions 6-18 Monkeys was how it ended.

Chinatrust Brothers v Lamigo Monkeys – Sun 22nd in Taoyuan

Unusually for this 2019 season, wet weather hit northern Taiwan when both northern sides Lamigo Monkeys and Fubon Guardians had scheduled weekend home games. No action was possible until Sunday in Taoyuan with Friday and Saturday’s games being moved back until October.

Sunday’s game saw Brothers take a 4-1 lead in the 6th then stutter as starter Casey Harman was brought in in the 7th. He gave away back to back to back homers, Lin Cheng-fei, Liao Chien-fu and Yu De-lung becoming the 8th trio in CPBL history to be part of a B2B2B effort. Harman was taken off, and Chen Bo-Hao took the loss in the 8th as Lamigo scored twice in that inning. No comeback from Brothers as they fell to a 6-4 defeat.

Uni Lions v Fubon Guardians – Sun 22nd at Xinzhuang

Like in Taoyuan, baseball was washed out at Xinzhuang two nights running but the sides managed a doubleheader on Sunday 22nd. The first game at 1:05pm resulted in a massacre with Ryan Verdugo then the Lions bullpen allowing 4 runs in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings. Until the bottom of the 6th, it was merely 3-1 Guardians before Verdugo then Lai Bo-kai and Fang Kang-de gave up 4 runs. Both the relievers gave away 3H, 4R, 2BBs. A 15-2 win for the Guardians but all change in game two…

0-0 with 6 innings played but there were 8 late runs in the 5:05pm game. 2 runs in the 7th and 1 early in the 8th put Uni Lions 3-0 ahead. Fubon levelled and no, it wasn’t that pesky bullpen but rather Josh Roenicke who allowed Fubon to tie after 8. Not to be denied, the away team got their first win of the week off Lin Yi-hao with 2 runs in the top of the 9th. Chen Yun-wen got save number 24 of the season. Despite losing 5-3, Fubon managed to strike out 15 Lions hitters.

The round-up from week 27 will follow shortly after this one has been posted…


CPBL round-up – week 25

Yet again, this is about a week late but as I’m sure you can appreciate, a personal issues have held me back once again. Motivation hasn’t exactly been high, anyway, let’s review the action from 10th to 14th September.

Fubon Guardians v Uni Lions – Tues 10th/Wed 11th Sep in Tainan

Tuesday’s fixture got underway at 7:46pm, a full 71 minutes late due to heavy rain all afternoon in Tainan. It was a surprise the game started to be honest! Uni Lions whacked Guardians starter Jiang Kuo-hao for 5 in the second inning and dominated this encounter. Josh Roenicke gave up just 3H, 2R (1ER) as Fubon made 4 hits to Uni Lions 17. It ended 8-2 Uni Lions and it could have been a lot worse for the away team.

He hadn’t hit a homer for 39 games and since 12th June but Chen Yung-chi finally joined the 100HR club on Wednesday.  The Lions 3rd baseman hit homer 99 in the 3rd to pull it back to 4-2 after the Guardians had taken a 4-0 lead. The big one came in the 5th, a grand slam that put the Lions 9-5 up. Fubon would only pull two back later, as the Chen and the Lions came away 9-7 victors.

Lamigo Monkeys v Chinatrust Brothers – Wed 11th/Thurs 12th Sep in Taichung

A Brothers late show gave them an easy win on Wednesday evening. 2 down early, they scored 2 in the 6th to tie, then 2 in the 7th and 3 in the 8th to lead 9-2. Just a walk in the top of the 9th for the Monkeys, another defeat and another off night for starter Michael Nix and the bullpen.

From a late show to an early show. 7 runs in the opening 3 innings gave Brothers a 7-0 lead they would not relinquish. This time the Taichung side went after Hung Sheng-xin as the Monkeys starter gave up 7 in the opening 2.2. Both sides scored a few runs later in the game, with Brothers coming away 9-3 winners.

Chinatrust Brothers v Uni Lions – Fri 13th, Sat 14th and Sun 15th Sep in Tainan

3 completely contrasting games and whilst it is said a lot in my round-ups, that was absolutely true.

Friday 13th was an unlucky day… For the Uni Lions on the opening day of retro weekend. This could only be described as a complete massacre. Shih Tzu-chien had an off day on the mound, 7H, 8R in the first 3.0. A run back in the 5th made it 8-1, before Lions reliever Hung Xin-chi went and gave away 6 runs albeit 3 earned in the 7th. 5 RBI for Chou Shi-chi and unsurprisingly he took MVP. Brothers 16 Lions 2 was this one ended in just 3hr 25 minutes…

Saturday’s game was a long one. With the score 4-4 after 7 innings and the time 8:10pm, the heavens opened. It had been raining a while but it came down hard. The game ought to have been abandoned and indeed many spectators left. Yet, with the rain having cleared the game resumed around 10pm and Brothers took a 10-4 lead. The rain intervened again around 45 minutes later and there was another break of play. The field of play looked dangerous but, the Lions made it 10-5 in the bottom of the 8th…

Wu Jie-Rui and Lin An-ke got to base but two outs followed. What followed was quite possibly one of the most dramatic finishes in a 9 inning game. A walk, and a Lin Ching-kai 2 RBI shot, 10-7 Brothers. A walk. Bases loaded. A walk, 10-8 Brothers. Pinch hitter, 40 year Kao Kuo-ching came to the plate and reached a full count before hitting a bases-clearing, game-winning 3 RBI shot to the warning track. 11-10 Lions with the stadium clock reaching 2359… A truly incredible finish to an extraordinary game.

Sunday’s game was a bit more mundane, actually, it was a drab encounter and was decided in the 9th inning. Lions closer Chen Yun-wen threw a ball, then two wild pitches, the latter of which got the runner home from 3rd. Brothers won the game 3-2 off a wild pitch as Uni Lions failed to repeat their walk-off win of the previous evening.

Lamigo Monkeys v Fubon Guardians – Fri 13th, Sat 14th and Sun 15th Sep at Xinzhuang

Lamigo Monkeys drab form in the second phase continued with three more defeats on the road. A rare reverse sweep for the Monkeys.

As Brothers pummelled the Lions in Tainan, the Guardians pummelled the Monkeys at Xinzhuang. Thomas Dominy took his first loss giving away 7R (4 ER) in the opening three. Facing Mike Loree the away side were always going to have issues getting back into the game and conceded 19 hits in a huge 13-0 loss, they also made 3 errors. Lin Yi-chuan and Fan Kuo-chen made 4 hits apiece for Fubon, with Fan hitting 4RBI. The Guardians strangely managed to strike out 12 times too!

As Brothers and Uni Lions game took 6hr 54 to finish, Saturday’s match-up was over in a very quick 2 hours 43 minutes. Starters Wang Yi-cheng and Ryan Bollinger gave away 7/8 hits respectively and 1 run. Wang Yue-lin was the losing pitcher as Lin Yi-chuan belted a two-run homer off him in the bottom of the 8th. It ended 3-1 Guardians.

Sunday’s game was a close encounter, the game was tied at 6-6 going into the bottom of the 10th. A walk, an intentional walk and a third walk loaded the bases with 1 out for the Guardians. Dai Pei-feng didn’t need much, and indeed he won the game with a sac-fly. A sac fly 7-6 win for the Guardians as they continued to put the pressure back on Chinatrust Brothers.

The table stood like this after the close of play on Sunday 15th September…

Brothers: 28-20

Guardians: 27-22

Lamigo: 22-27

Lions: 21-29

If Fubon Guardians finish 1st in the overall standings and Chinatrust Brothers win the second phase, they will play in a best of five series. This is something that has never happened in league history… Fubon could end 2nd in both phases, but top after 120 games… A strange situation!

Last week’s report will come whenever…

CPBL round-up – week 24

So, I initially intended to publish this last Tuesday evening but Fubon Guardians v Uni Lions went ahead unexpectedly. The rest of my week, I had a few personal issues and so I will be posting week 25 today/tomorrow.

Uni Lions v Fubon Guardians – Tues 3rd/Wed 4th September at Xinzhuang

Tuesday’s game was a great encounter and ultimately decided in the 9th inning. Fubon took an early 2-0 lead, before they went behind 4-2in the 4th. They then tied up in the bottom of the inning to make it 4-4. Fubon retook the lead in the 5th before yet again the game was tied at 5-5 in the top of the 9th. The game didn’t go to extra-innings as Hu Chin-long hit a massive walk-off homer out the stadium to win the game for the home side 6-5.

Wednesday’s game was a Mike Loree special, pitching 8 innings and giving up two hits. Dai Pei-feng hit the winning RBI in the 5th, a 1-0 game for the Guardians. If there is ever a current CPBL pitcher who could get the next no-hitter or perfect game, you’d be betting on Loree to do it.

Chinatrust Brothers v Lamigo Monkeys – Wed 4th/Thurs 5th September in Taoyuan

On Wednesday Brothers put together the mother of all comebacks, the biggest in fact in CPBL history as they came back from 11-0 down to beat Lamigo Monkeys in Taoyuan. Trailing 11-0 after 3, they hit 8 off Michael Nix in 0.2 innings. Lamigo scored in the 5th to make it 12-8. 4 more Brothers runs tied it at 12-12 after 6. Lamigo then regained the lead in the 7th. Zhang Chih-hao got the winning RBI as he broke a 13-13 tie in the top of the 8th. Lamigo would only get one back in the 8th with CC Lee collecting a save on one of the most epic nights in CPBL history.

Thursday’s game was postponed.

Uni Lions v Chinatrust Brothers – Fri 6th, Sat 7th and Sun 8th in Taichung

Three really quite contrasting games here in Taichung with another historic CPBL feat on Sunday.

Friday’s game was a hit fest, 25 hits in fact but only 3 runs were scored. Uni Lions scored in the 3rd and 4th, Wu Chieh-Rui and Deng Zhi-wei with the RBIs. Brothers RBI came from Peng Zhi-min in the 5th. MVP went to Shih Tzu-Chien, the Lions starting pitcher had an unusually decent night giving up 9H, 1R over 5.1.

Saturday’s game was a strange one. 3 2nd inning runs put the Lions ahead, only for Brothers to score one in each the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th then blew the Lions away with 7 in the 7th. Brothers looked more dangerous as the game went on, although the scoreless 6th had brought some hope to Lions fans only for that disastrous 7th to happen. It finished 11-3 Brothers.

Sunday’s game saw veteran Pan Wei-lun take on Casey Harman. Pan was tied for the all-time wins record in the Taiwanese professional baseball and was tied with a Brothers pitcher from the 90s. How fitting then that would get win 142 in Taichung against Brothers. The game was effectively over by the 5th, 4 runs in the 4th and 7 in the 5th put the away team well in control with an 11-3 lead. Pan departed at this point, and it looked like the game was safe at 11-4 in the 9th. The Lions bullpen had a wobble, bringing the winning run to the plate with the bases loaded at 11-8. Chen Yun-wen got the final out, and Pan Wei-lun had his record.

Fubon Guardians v Lamigo Monkeys – Fri 6th, Sat 7th and Sun 8th in Taoyuan

It’s fair to say Lamigo Monkeys have been an odd team in the second phase and this series proved it. They won Friday’s game, a crucial 4 runs in the 8th inning put them 7-2 up as Fubon had reduced a 3-0 lead to 3-2 in the 7th. Fubon only managed only one consolation run, but they’d have plenty to cheer over the following two days.

It was a battle of two Taiwanese pitchers on Saturday, Chen Shih-peng v Wang Yi-cheng and the younger man came out on top as the Guardians led 4-2 after 6. Two more runs gave them a bit more assurance of a win. Their bullpen held firm, giving away just 3 hits over 4 innings, and only run, that coming in the bottom of the 9th. Guardians 6-3 Monkeys was how it ended.

Ahhh, Ryan Bollinger v Radhames Liz, two foreign pitchers, one an inconsistent pitcher who hadn’t won in 6 and the other having won 7 games straight. What happened, was pretty crazy. Liz only lasted 2.1 innings with 9H, 8R conceded as Fubon Guardians lead 10-0 after just 3 innings. Fubon led by as many as 15, eventually coming out 16-3 winners. A second heavy home defeat of the phase for the Monkeys as a show of intent from the Guardians. Every starting hitter made a run, a hit and RBI, with Chen Pin-chieh making 2R, 4H, 4RBI and 1SB over 6 at-bats. A great win for the Guardians.

Week 25 will follow later.

CPBL round-up – week 23

So, with so much traveling last week, I never managed to post this. I went to Xinzhuang last Tuesday which meant my usual time to write this was gone.

Lamigo Monkeys v Fubon Guardians – 27th/28th August at Xinzhuang

Two greatly contrasting games at Xinzhuang as this series was split. On 27th August, Chen Shih-peng and the Guardians bullpen held off the Monkeys, limiting them to just 8 hits. Kao Xiao-yi and Dai Pei-feng with the RBIs in the 2nd and 4th innings as Fubon won 2-0.

Wednesday’s game was more of a scoring fest with Ryan Bollinger giving up 9 runs in the opening three innings. Lamigo were never likely to give up a 9 run lead and the closest it got was 11-6 after 6 innings. The game finished 12-6 Monkeys with Lin Cheng-fei hitting a grand-slam in the third as part of 2R, 3H, 6RBI night.

Chinatrust Brothers v Uni Lions – 28th/29th August at Chengcing Lake

The CPBL’s second combined shutout of the week came in Kaohsiung at Chengcing Lake Stadium as Brothers comfortably beat Uni Lions. Huang En-tzu started for Brothers and along with 4 bullpen pitchers, they limited the Lions to 6 hits. Brothers chipped away with the runs, including 2 off Alec Asher in the 6th and a further 5 against the Lions wafer-thin bullpen. The final score was, Brothers 7-0 Lions.

On Thursday, both starters were solid with Mitch Lively giving up 3H, 1R in his 5 and Josh Roenicke just a solitary hit in his 5. Brothers took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 7th only for the game to be immediately levelled in the bottom of the inning. Lin An-ke hit the winning RBI to take his 4th MvP in his first month as a Lion. The game ended Brothers 2-4 Lions.

Chinatrust Brothers v Fubon Guardians – 30th/31st Aug and 1st September at Xinzhuang

A match-up between two of the three second phase title contenders ended with three very tight games. All three games were decided by a combined five runs.

On Friday Mike Loree took his 8th loss of the season as faced off against Casey Harman. Both pitchers threw for 7 innings but Loree conceded 3 runs to Harman’s 2, the decisive RBI came in the top of the 4th from Yueh Tung-hua which put Brothers 3-2 up in a game that would finish 4-2 Brothers.

Saturday’s game was an error-filled game with only 5 of the 9 runs in the game being earned. Leading 3-2 in the bottom of the 5th Brothers Liao Yi-zhong gave away 3 runs which would be enough to put Fubon out of reach. Liao took the loss as Brothers only managed one run back, but to concede only 2 earned runs, a tough loss for the youngster. Brothers 4-5 Guardians.

Error, the least favourite word for Brothers in this series. It happened again. They lead 3-0 going in the bottom of the 8th only for Villeneuva to concede 3 runs, all unearned and then end up giving two more runs with 2 outs on the board. A 5-3 defeat for Brothers who lost the series and saw the lead at the top reduced to just 0.5 games.

Uni Lions v Lamigo Monkeys -30th/31st Aug and 1st September in Taoyuan

Surprise of the week came in Taoyuan as Uni Lions made a rare successful trip to Taoyuan. The team that went 0-10 in Taoyuan in the first phase moved to 3-5 with a series win.

Friday encounter saw the Lions dominate, taking an 8-1 lead after 4 innings. Wang Yi-cheng the guilty pitcher, although to be fair only 5 of the 8 were earned runs. Zheng Kai-wen, Su Chih-chieh and Lin Yu-le all hitting home runs in the opening 4 frames. Lamigo battled back to 8-5 courtesy of a Lin Li grand slam but the bullpen did not falter and Uni Lions took a 10-6 victory.

Saturday’s game was heart-attack stuff, particularly in the away end of the stadium. Lamigo took a three-run lead in the bottom of the 1st then spectacularly threw it away. They allowed the Lions to level after 6 then Huang Wei-cheng gave up 4H, 1BB and 5ER to leave the Lions in a commanding 8-3 lead. Cheng Chun-ren then gave Lamigo a lifetime, the Lions bullpen pitcher allowing the lead to be pulled back to 3 runs with 0 out, bottom of the 8th. Lin Chih-wei and Huang Chun-yen tidied up, 8-5, bottom of the 9th with a 3 run lead, Chen Yun-wen as the closer came to the mound…

Lamigo immediately loaded the bases, with Chu Yu-hsien the leagues home run leader coming to the plate, a grand slam away from a win… A single. 8-6. Kuo Yun-wen, SAC FLY, 8-7, 1 OUT, 2 ON! Lin Cheng-fei, STRUCK OUT! The game remained on a knife-edge, Liao Jian-fu…walked! Yeh Zhu-hsuan was then caught in left field to end a dramatic 4-hour game.

Sunday’s game was the anti-climax to a superb weekend for the Lions. For Lamigo, it was a welcome win as they avoided being swept by Uni Lions for the first time ever in 9 years in Taoyuan. When the starting pitchers are Jiang Chen-yen and Radhames Liz, the seasoned CPBL fan will know what is likely to happen and it did…

Lamigo controlled the game from the first inning with Chu Yu-hsien hitting a first-inning home run to put his side 3-1 up. Jiang conceded 5 further runs and relief in the form of Hung Xin-chi wasn’t exactly relief, as he gave up 6H, 3R in 1.1, The game was effectively over by the end of the 5th, as Monkeys were 11-3 up. No further scoring in the game.

I will cover week 24 later today, tonight’s Fubon Guardians v Uni Lions game in the Tainan will be postponed so I will have time later.


20 weeks until my 2020 trip…

In 140 days or in 20 weeks time I will be heading off on an 18 day/18 night trip to what is now the other side of the world from me.

I came to Asia a little under 5 years ago, and in that time, those destinations I first wanted to visit such as Myanmar, Vietnam, Japan haven’t been done yet. They will be visited eventually. I went to Cambodia in January 2017 which was always top of the list then waited nearly 2 years until I did my last trip, a return to the UK after 4 years. That had to be done. 8 months on from the UK, I’m going even further, most of you will know where I’m on about…

Ask me 5 years ago where I wanted to visit and I could show you the list because I wrote it down and the piece of paper remains in a drawer in my apartment. Things have changed with one destination not just going on my list of ‘Places to visit’ but now being the place I’m going to next! I am of course talking about the United States of America.

Truth be told I have been never bothered about the US. Maybe I saw it as somewhere everyone goes, perhaps it was just me in my early 20s, perhaps it was because the one love in my life; football had started to disappear off the agenda. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, there are probably a myriad of reasons but things are now different and I’m going there.

I’ve grown feelings towards the US. Living in Taiwan, it’s become easy to get attracted to American sports with the games in the morning and I work afternoons/evenings. I watch baseball in Taiwan, a big American sport but not so much the MLB. The NBA has become my league, basketball my second spectator sport. I’m more likely to be watching a basketball or baseball game than football (soccer) game in 2019.

That still doesn’t explain the why or the when. My holiday time is when Chinese New Year falls, next year that is January. I get unpaid time off work. It was mid-June and I was looking ahead to next year, thinking about what I could possibly go. I jumped on Skyscanner and the usual Asian destinations came up, Japan: too cold, Indonesia: too wet, Myanmar: NT$13,000, I scoffed at this one… too expensive! Oh hello, what’s this…

The more distant destinations were reasonably priced, Hawaii, NT$16,000 return seriously? Australia was a bit less. LA/San Francisco, about NT$20,000… A short while later, I put in Taipei to NYC, and LA to Taipei out of sheer curiosity and long story short, direct flights for under NT$25,000 were booked.

In the first few weeks after booking the flights, I found things to be very overwhelming. As usual, there were outlandish ideas about taking a train across the US, doing as many NBA games as possible but the more I talked to my friends, acquaintances over here, the easier things got. Who isn’t going to feel overwhelmed by 18 days in a country that could easily be a continent?

The NBA schedule came overnight on 14th August, and since then I’ve been able to formulate a plan of sorts. It’s difficult to get the balance right, I could have done with flying back from the east coast, but you work with what you’ve got.


Thursday 16th January: Arrive in New York City

Friday 17th January to Tuesday 21st January in New York. Brooklyn Nets v Milwaukee Bucks on 18th. Tentative plans for NHL on 19th at Madison Square Garden.

Wednesday 22nd January: Bus to Boston.

Wednesday 22nd January to Friday 24th January: Stay in Boston, Boston Celtics v Memphis Grizzlies on 22nd.

Friday 24th/Saturday 25th: Either an overnight or an early morning bus to Philadelphia.

Saturday 25th January to Sunday 26th January: Weekend in Philadelphia. 76ers v Los Angeles Lakers on 26th.

Monday 27th January: Bus to DC.

Monday 27th January to Friday 31st January: Stay in Washington DC. Washington Wizards v Charlotte Hornets on 30th. Tentative plans for NHL: Washington Capitals v Nashville Predators on 29th.

After this, things are up in the air. I want to see James Harden play basketball. Houston Rockets are at home on Friday 31st January. So I have choice of four:

A) Initial plan: Fly to LA on Friday 31st, fly out of LA on Monday 3rd.

B) Fly to Houston on 31st, watch the Rockets, fly to LA the next morning and do Clippers v TWolves at lunchtime. It is possible!

C) Fly to Houston on 31st, watch the Rockets, fly to LA the next morning. Fly out on 3rd.

D) Fly to LA on Saturday 1st February instead, and avoid Rockets or Clippers games, the most unlikely!

I have to admit, I’m not 100% bothered about LA at this stage. There’s going to be a lot of flying if I do get a ticket for the Rockets v Dallas Mavericks.

140 days to go, let’s see what happens! I already have my ESTA approval and several hostels booked along with 3 of my NBA tickets. I can’t wait!



CPBL round-up – week 22

We are now around the halfway period of the second phase of the CPBL season and I’m pleased that I’m now back on track with my posts.

Uni Lions v Lamigo Monkeys – Tues/Wed/Thurs in Tainan

A three-game series with the Thursday game being rearranged from it’s original date in July due to rain.

On Tuesday Lamigo took game one with a convincing 7-2 victory, 6 runs in the middle 3 innings gave Alec Asher his 4th loss of the season. The Lions struggled with the bat, suffering an incredible 16 strike outs, 13 at the hands of Radhames Liz who has been on absolute fire as of late.

Things changed on Wednesday and Thursday with the Lions taking the series, a 2-2 tie was broken in the 8th courtesy of Lin An-ke as the Lions won 4-2. Thursday’s game was dramatic. Uni Lions destroyed Matt Grimes early to take a 5-0 lead after 2 only to be pulled back to 6-6 after 4. A run apiece more took the game into effective sudden death in the 9th, and with no score in the 9th or 10th, the game entered inning 11. Hung Xin-chi struck out three after Lin An-ke pulled off back to back MvPs with a 1 out single to bring Kuo Chun-wei home and give the Lions an 8-7 walk-off home win.

Fubon Guardians v Chinatrust Brothers – Thursday in Taichung

Wednesday’s game was called off due to rain but Thursday’s game went ahead. Mitch Lively bounced back from his poor showing as a reliever last time out with a dominant display this time around. 7H, 3R over 7.1 had Brothers in a good position at 6-3 up. The relievers took over and despite a minor scare, Brothers survived the 8th 6-4 up. CC Lee got the save and Brothers took the 6-4 win.

Lamigo Monkeys v Chinatrust Brothers – Fri/Sat/Sun in Taichung

All eyes on this series, with Brothers leading the Monkeys by 0.5 in the 2nd phase.

In Friday’s game Brothers thrashed the Monkeys 11-3 in front of 8611. Lin Chih-sheng was the difference-maker as he hit 2 home runs in 3H, 8RBI display. His 2nd homer put Brothers 6-3 ahead, and Brothers scored a further five off Huang Wei-cheng and Hung Sheng-qin, 11-3 and an impressive win indeed.

This was followed up with the series clincher, and another head-turning 8 run win. They condemned Lamigo to their third straight series defeat that has put their 2nd phase title hopes on the rocks. 4 Brothers home runs, with 1 from Lin Chih-sheng, 2 from Su Wei-da and 1 from Zhang Chih-hao all came off starter Wang Wei-chun. Just 1 run off 10 hits from the Monkeys who succumbed to a 9-1 defeat.

On Sunday Lamigo brought out their trump card, Radhames Liz for his appearance of the week. He recorded his 6th win in a row, restricting Brothers to 3 hits over 5.2. It was a tight game with Chen Chen-wei hitting both RBIs in a 2-1 Monkeys win. Wang Sheng-wei scored Brothers only run courtesy of a homer in the bottom of the 7th.

Brothers are now 1.5 ahead of Lamigo Monkeys at the top of the second phase title.

Fubon Guardians v Uni Lions – Fri/Sat/Sun at Tianmu

In a very rare occurrence, for the second straight weekend, the Uni Lions fan who writes this very round-up was unable to attend either Uni Lions game!

Friday’s match at Tianmu was one to forget if you are of Lions persuasion, but one to remember for those who are Fubon fans. Josh Roenicke took on Mike Loree on the mound, one had a disastrous game, the other one didn’t. Roenicke gave up 10H, 7R over 5.2 as the Lions were thrashed 11-2. Loree gave up 4H, 1R which is pretty standard fare for him against the Lions. Not a night to remember for the Lions with every Fubon starting hitter making a hit.

Saturday’s game saw Pan Wei-lun once again attempt to get his 141st and CPBL record tieing win. He got it as he took on Bryan Woodall who has just 2 wins from 21 games this year. Early runs put the Lions 5-1 up after 4. There was a wobble as Fubon hit back with 3 runs to make it 5-4. Nerves were quickly settled as the Lions scored 4 of their own to lead 9-4, and then 1 more in the 5th made it 10-4. The Lions relievers took over after the 5th and did their thing, give up runs. The 10-4 lead was reduced to 10-8 but the Tainan based side held on. It’s Pan Wei-lun’s first win since 26th May.

Sunday’s game saw the Lions record their second successive series victory and record their first winning week since 28th May-2nd June. It was a simple thing too, Su Chih-chieh hit a homer in the first and a three-run homer in the second to give the Lions a 4-0 lead. Yu Meng-kuai hit a 2RBI shot in the 7th as Fubon managed just 2 runs off 12 hits.

Fubon are now 3.0 behind Brothers and Uni Lions 7.5 behind, 4.5 behind Fubon. Fubon either need themselves or Lamigo Monkeys to win the second phase to have a shot at the play-offs. Brothers are looking impressive and hard to stop.

Brothers: 20-14

Monkeys: 19-16

Guardians: 17-17

Lions: 13-22

This week’s schedule

Monkeys v Guardians at Xinzhuang on Tues/Wed at 6:35pm

Brothers v Lions at Chengcing Lake on Wed/Thurs at 6:35pm

Brothers v Guardians at Xinzhuang on Fri at 6:35, Sat/Sun at 5:05

Lions v Monkeys at Taoyuan on Fri at 6:35, Sat/Sun at 5:05.

Hualien – the annual pilgrimage – 10th/11th August.

Since I first came to Taiwan in September 2015 the east coast has always been alluring to me. At first, it felt like the mountains, the towns and lush greenery of the east coast was like a faraway land. The mountains of Taiwan really do feel like a barrier between the populated, crowded west coast and the pretty paradise that is the east. As the crow flies, Tainan and Hualien are separated by just 182km or 113 miles, the shortest route around via Kaohsiung, Pingtung and Taitung is over double that. After 6 visits to the east coast, it still holds that appeal but doesn’t feel quite so distant anymore.

Every year when the baseball schedule is released I always look for the Hualien games first. There is the same problem every year as I always talk about in these posts, the need to be mindful of the weather but I have to book a ticket on Sunday’s last train and a hostel in advance. In my two previous baseball trips to Hualien, I hadn’t had an issue with the weather.

This year there was a new problem, it’s August. I work mornings in August and at first glance, I said to myself, “No, it’s too much to attempt Hualien this year.” These words of wisdom to myself were ignored come late July when I booked the match tickets, hostel and train out on the Sunday evening.

Come Friday evening, I was tired and for once managed a few hours sleep before the inevitable alarm. I woke up at 4:45am with no idea how I was getting to Hualien. I had initially looked at an overnight trip, then wanted to get the train to Hualien at 6:30am, but I’d seen it had obviously sold out. The other idea was bus to Taipei then direct train to Hualien. There is one missing option, the combo ticket. The TRA had put back the mid-afternoon local train from Luodong to Hualien by about an hour, which left a 5-hour gap in the timetable and rendered the combo useless for me.

I went on the TRA website, put in Tainan to Hualien, and oh wow, really? There was a seat or seats available on the 0630 Tainan to Hualien train. I booked it but needed to pick it up by 6am. I got out of my slumber and was away by 5:30am. The roads were quiet, and I was able to pick up my ticket and grab some drinks well before 6am.

I didn’t sleep much on the boring section of the ride, through to Taitung and instead got an hour’s sleep between Taitung and Hualien, the most beautiful part of the journey. I did still manage to get some photos though…


For a 5 hour 20 journey, it went quite smoothly but immediately after getting off the train, there was an overwhelming feeling of heat. It took about 30 minutes for me to realise, I wasn’t going to get to Qixingtan beach and back as I’d just missed the last bus there for about 1 hour 30. I walked around a little and ended up in a 7 Eleven until 2:20pm. It was around 38C and really sticky, those are not conditions you want to be out in.

2:20pm and I knew I needed to get a sim-card for my new phone that had arrived on Thursday, I finally got fed up with not having a camera and had ordered a new LG G7. I’ve notoriously only had a sim for about 2 months of my time here but wanted one for the new phone. I eventually got it sorted and walked down to the hostel, where check-in would be open around 3.

I arrived at 3:10pm and the door was locked, staff eventually turning up about 3:30pm who then had to get their boss, to check me in. It seemed all a bit odd, and standing outside in high 30s heat wasn’t pleasant…

A quick wash and I walked up to the train station to get a taxi to the stadium. I was simply not walking in that heat, the 7-minute journey costing NT$155. I had wanted to get to the stadium early with Hualien having no reserved seats, the last two years, people have arrived as the gates opened, dumped their bags down and disappeared! I thought I was too late arriving at 4:10 but managed to get a reasonable seat.


I immediately noticed the changes to the stadium, with now a stage for the cheerleaders and red/blue seats replacing the orange/green ones. The bullpen area had been improved with a roof over it, it felt like a much better stadium.

Pre-game I saw a lot of Lions fans who I knew, which is in contrast to previous years where I’d seen almost nobody I knew! Quite a lot of Tainan based Lions and that was good to see as the atmosphere with mainly Hualien based fans hasn’t always been great.

The game got going pitting Michael Nix of Lamigo Monkeys against Pan Wei-lun of the Uni Lions. Sadly as a Lions fan, this game was a complete disaster as Lamigo took an early 1-0 lead and Michael Nix was in superb form. At 5-0 down in the top of the 9th, it wouldn’t have been such a bad defeat but Lamigo added 5 more runs to go 10-0 up. By the bottom of the 7th, I felt the shut-out was inevitable and so it proved. A 10-0 loss and I was left licking my wounds somewhat, as I made the 35-minute walk back to the hostel.


I got back, had another few beers which was probably a bit silly as I didn’t end up going to sleep until 1am.

I slept well and woke to find cleaners in the room at 9:30am, so got myself up and at the bus station to find I’d just missed the 10am bus to Qixingtan beach. A 50-minute wait ensured and that was eventful with a tout trying to persuade me to go with him in his taxi. I nearly said yes as I couldn’t be bothered waiting so long but had second thoughts and backed out once I realised it was unmarked. It didn’t feel right.

I got off the bus at Qixingtan about 1125 and had roughly 3 hours to enjoy my favourite place in Taiwan. It was slightly cooler than the previous day but I saw my suncream was out of date, I didn’t want to risk it. I had had severe burns on Qixingtan beach in 2017 which almost saw me admitted to hospital, I was not keen on repeating that. A quick Google Maps check showed me there was a Family Mart about 10 minutes walk away.

379NT for a small bottle suncream was painful on the wallet but not as painful as the sunburn would be! I slowly worked my way back to where I started, picked up a coconut and water for 180NT (which seemed expensive!) and headed for my favourite spot on the beach.


Where the mountains reach the sea, there is peace and serenity.

I think those words sum up Qixingtan nicely,  Qixingtan feels like a piece of paradise, even more so than much of the rest of the east coast. The mountains descend through the clouds and crash down into the Pacific Ocean. The water is crystal clear and the rocks on the beach feel like stepping on hot coals…

I slipped off my shoes and for the first time at Qixingtan, the rocks and stones were genuinely roasting hot. I had to lay down a layer of clothes as you simply couldn’t sit on the beach without the feeling you were starting to cook ever so slightly. Yet, of course, this did not detract from the beauty of the beach or even distract me! It was a slight quirk to the outing.

I spent about 2 hours 30 laid down, occasionally paddling in the water. The relaxing feeling I get from Qixingtan is not matched anywhere else on this island partly because other beaches are more touristy (I’m looking at you Kenting), only perhaps Baishawan in Kenting takes my breath away as much.


I picked up some food and waited for the bus back to Hualien City, confusingly the bus stop on the Hualien bound side said waiting across the road… So a crowd of us waited by that bus stop, and of course, once the bus rolled up at 3:10, we all had to dash across the road. The sign was wrong in both English and Chinese…

Back in Hualien and I sat outside 7 Eleven where I had a Lamigo fan/official, with a lanyard ask for a photo. Bored, I got in a taxi as I was simply wasting phone battery, something I’d had been doing at the stadium anyway.

Pre-match, nothing felt out the ordinary. I just didn’t want the Lions to lose too badly, Lamigo Monkeys are a top team and I posted on Facebook another defeat was coming. I’m notorious for saying things that turn out to be completely wrong and…

Matt Grimes v Ryan Verdugo on the mound, one pitcher would last an inning, the other wouldn’t need to do anything special and would get the win. In my 4 years and 163 games watching the Lions, Lamigo Monkeys had always been this thorn in the side. I’d twice seen them hit double figures in an inning v the Lions, I’d seen him double figures against us 9 times but never had I seen us hit 10 v them in a regular-season game, after 38 attempts.

Lamigo were swatted away within minutes. They did nothing in the top of the first and then Matt Grimes and the Monkeys fielders proceeded to have a horrow show. 5 hits, 5 runs and 2 errors put the Lions firmly in control.

A run back made it 5-1 before Grimes gave up 2 more hits and was prompted removed. His replacement gave away 2 quick hits and the Lions led 7-1 after 2 innings. Already I was thinking, will today be 10?


The answer was a resounding yes! This became one of the most memorable nights I’ve ever had watching the Uni Lions, this was paradise, this was something quite special. This was a night where the 2019 Lions slogan “PROUD” was something I felt.

Two more runs followed in the 4th. 9-1 Lions. Elation turned to ecstasy as the 5th inning brought about that magic 10. A walk, a hit, Lin Jing-kai, SINGLE! 10-1 LIONS! Next man up, half Argentine/half Taiwanese Lin An-ke at the plate… HOME RUN! 13-1 LIONS! Rookie home run, this was just crazy and with 0 outs. The next thought was just how many would be hit…

An out followed by another man getting to base, and Su Chih-chieh GOING DEEP, GOING, GOING, GONEEEE! 15-1 LIONS! 2 more to base… no… oh, two outs followed. 6 runs in the inning but now the thought was on the train back, the game could only last 4 hours 5 at most, I was wondering whether I’d miss anything at the end. I was not the only one in this position.

Into the bottom of the 6th, Kao Kuo-ching was ground out but got the RBI, Su Chih-chieh then hit his second home run of the game to make it a ridiculous 17-1 Lions…


Just then I realised the Lions had a bullpen and not a good one. 4 home runs in the game but we ended up with 9. Lamigo pulled it back to a mere 17-3. Lin Jing-kai’s RBI made it 18-3 before Chen Chun-chiu hit a solo homer and Kuo Yun-wen hit a two-run shot to make it 18-6, the gloss was starting to be taken off things.

Su Chih-chieh then went back to back to back with his third homer of the night in the bottom of the 8th. Two more homers followed, Chu Yu-hsien made it 19-7 and I left at this point, knowing I had 33 minutes until the train. Just as I left, Chen Chun-chiu made it 19-8 with the game’s 9th home run. There would be no further score as it ended Lamigo Monkeys 8-19 Uni Lions.

I walked away in complete disbelief,  the most runs I have seen in a game,  the most home runs and certainly the best game of baseball I’d ever seen.


I got back to Hualien station having picked up a few beers along the way, the journey taking about 25 minutes via a convenience store for beer. I only managed three on the journey north to Taipei. I didn’t get a good selfie at the game, but maybe this shot from the train, sums up my feelings…


I got back to Taipei and got to 0020 bus back to Tainan. I slept a little bit, having finished off my last beer. Key in lock around 5am, a long arduous weekend trip but great fun as usual. It’s nice to write about Hualien as always.

2100+ words and that’s me done on this grey, rainy miserable Sunday afternoon in Tainan.


CPBL round-up – week 21

It’s finally time to look back at the CPBL action between Tuesday 13th and Sunday 18th August.

Uni Lions v Chinatrust Brothers – Tues 13th and Wed 14th in Hualien

7 games in Hualien for Uni Lions and 5 defeats. Chinatrust Brothers were the designated home team for this series, the final one in Hualien and won both games.

On Tuesday, Elih Villenueva got the better of Alec Asher, as despite giving up 11 hits over 8, Villanueva only conceded 2 runs. The Lions struggled to get their runners home again, Brothers made 5 runs off their 7 hits with 3 runs coming off homers. It ended 5-2 Brothers.

Wednesday’s game saw the sides once again separated by 3 runs, this time Jiang Chen-yen pitched for the Lions and gave up 5 runs in his 4 innings. Brothers led 5-1 after those 4, and never looked like throwing away the lead, it got as close as 5-3 before 2 run homer from Chen Tzu-hao sealed it. Lions 4-7 Brothers was how it finished.

Fubon Guardians v Lamigo Monkeys – Wed 14th and Thurs 15th in Taoyuan

Wednesday’s game was a showdown between pitching heavyweights Mike Loree and Radhames Liz, but not for the first time this year, Lamigo dominated Loree. They took a 6-3 lead after 5 innings, but Liz didn’t last much longer, as Fubon pulled it back to 6-5 by the middle of the 6th. 3 runs in the bottom of the 6th put Lamigo 9-5 up and they wouldn’t look back. 2 runs apiece followed, it finished: Guardians 7 Monkeys 11.

Thursday’s game was a somewhat tighter affair and you have to feel for Fubon. They made 14 hits to Lamigo’s 7 yet still managed to lose the game. Fubon went 2-1 up early before Lin Li’s 5th inning grand slam put the Monkeys up 5 runs to 2. The game was tied at 5-5 as Fubon’s reliever Lin Yi-hao came to the mound, he conceded 2 runs, 2 walks and a HBP on Lin Hung-yu which strangely resulted in the winning RBI! One more run followed and it ended 7-5 Monkeys.

Chinatrust Brothers v Lamigo Monkeys – Fri 16th, Sat 17th and Sun 18th in Taoyuan

A huge Friday evening crowd of 13,617 watched Lamigo Monkeys beat Brothers in what was another weird CPBL game. Lamigo took an early 3-0 lead, and extend it to 5-0 in the 7th. Casey Harman giving away 5 runs, but only 2 earned. Wang Yi-cheng fairly rather better, 10 hits and 0 runs conceded. Brothers would score a solitary late run, as Wang moved to a crazy 11-2 record despite an ERA of 4.34. Brothers 1-5 Monkeys the final score.

Saturday’s game was decided late, in front of a slightly lower crowd of 13,034. Neither Liao Yi-zhong or Matt Grimes had any impact on this one, with the 3-2 Brothers after 6. They extended their lead to 5-2 only for the Monkeys to rally and hit 5 of their own in the bottom of the 7th. All 5 runs came off… Mitch Lively who has been one of Brothers best pitchers. The game wasn’t done there, as Brothers scored 3 in the top of the 8th to led 8-7. No fight back this time, and it finished 8-7.

Sunday’s game resulted in another shock Monkeys home loss. Elih Villanueva made his second start of the week, something out of necessity due to Brothers total lack of Taiwanese starters. He was once again, solid. 1 run and 4 hits over 7 innings as Brothers built a 9-1 lead. Guan Da-yuan conceded 3 runs in the 8th but it had no impact, Brothers 9 Monkeys 4 was how it ended.

Uni Lions v Fubon Guardians – Fri 16th, Sat 17th, Sun 18th at Xinzhuang

Ahh, the Uni Lions, once again finished the week with a series defeat against play-off chasers Fubon Guardians. Friday’s game resulted in their only win of the week in a matchup between Roenicke and Woodall. Both starters were solid, Woodall only giving up 2 runs in his 5 innings but it didn’t matter. Roenicke pitched 7, giving away 3 and took the W as Pan Wu-hsiang’s 2 RBI double put the Lions 4-3 up in the top of the 8th. Chen Yun-wen got the save and the Lions got a 4-3 win.

Saturday’s game was a dull affair as Uni Lions Pan Wei-lun attempted to tie the CPBL wins record for the 9th time. He pitched well, 9 hits, 2 runs in a really good 7 innings but he took the loss as his visiting Lions only managed one run. Fubon bouncing back with a 3-1 win.

Sunday’s match was rain-delayed and it was another tepid display with the bat from the Tainan side. Just 4 hits and 2 runs over the 9 innings, Fubon went 3-2 up in the 5th and put the game beyond reach with runs in the 7th and 8th. Yu Ting-wei with another good pitching display for the home side and he goes 4-1 for the season.

This is how the standings looked on Sunday 18th August…

Lamigo – 17-12

Brothers – 17-13

Guardians – 16-14

Lions – 9-20

If Lamigo win the second phase, Fubon and Brothers will play a best of 5 series. If Fubon or Brothers win the phase, they will face Lamigo in the Taiwan Series.

The round-up from the week gone by will be published on time on Monday/Tuesday as I am only working 10 hours this coming week.


CPBL round-up – week 19/20

In the last couple of weeks I have been busy working in the mornings, which took a lot of my free time up. There were other issues as well, so let’s have a look at the last two of the last three weeks of CPBL action. Week 21 will follow in the coming days, the initial plan had been to do this on Monday 19th but sadly, I didn’t get round to it.

Week 19

Uni Lions v Lamigo Monkeys – 30th/31st July in Taoyuan

Once again, Lamigo Monkeys beat Uni Lions but it was a bit tighter than usual. Tuesday’s game ended 3-2 to Lamigo, Josh Roenicke having a quality start giving up 6H, 3R over 7 but Lamigo’s pitchers limited the Lions to 6H, 2R on the night. A close game that could have gone either way.

The Lions bullpen again had its issues on Wednesday 31st, Alec Asher conceded just 2H and 0R over his opening 4 as the Lions lead 3-0 after 4. 5 runs conceded in the 5th and Lamigo would go onto win 7-3. Lin Li, Chu Yu-hsien and Lan Yin-lun together got all 7 RBIs.

Chinatrust Brothers v Fubon Guardians – 31st July/1st Aug at Xinzhuang

Wednesday’s game pitted Elih Villanueva against Mike Loree and it was the seasoned CPBL veteran who came out on top. Villanueva took his first loss of the season, conceding 7 hits, 6 runs (3 earned) as Loree and the Guardians bullpen restricted Brothers to just hit 2 runs and 4 hits, final score: Brothers 2 Guardians 7.

Thursday’s game was similar as Brothers made just 3 hits off You Ting-wei, the young Guardians pitcher making up for a horror show outing last time he started. Fubon hitters did what they needed to do as the home side came away comfortable 5-0 winners.

Lamigo Monkeys v Fubon Guardians – 2nd/3rd/4th Aug at Xinzhuang

A series match-up between the two sides likely to be competing in the Championship Series come October.

Lamigo ran away winners in the Friday game. Tied at 4-4 after 5, Lamigo broke the deadlock and went onto score 10 more runs. Every Lamigo starting hitter except Chen Chen-wei managed a hit.

The weekend games were closer and split. Saturday’s game saw Bryan Woodall take his 10th loss of the campaign, it’s been a tough, tough year for the experienced pitcher. Lamigo Monkeys won 5-2

Sunday saw Lamigo yet again score in the middle innings to go 3-2 ahead after 7. Wang Chung-tung stopped the sweep with a pinch-hit, 2 RBI shot in the bottom of the 8th. The lead would hold and Fubon won 4-3.

Chinatrust Brothers v Uni Lions – 2nd/3rd/4th Aug in Tainan

You have to feel for Uni Lions fans, especially those of who came in the weekend having watched them lose 9 straight games. Friday’s game was cancelled was shifted to Sunday lunchtime. That run of 9 defeats in a row for yours truly became 10.

Casey Harman pitched well and restricted the Lions to just 7 hits and a solitary run over 6.2. There were 5 early runs ( 2 earned) for Brothers who led 5-0 after 3 and a comeback didn’t ever look likely. Brothers eased to a 6-1 win.

So to Sunday, a rare Tainan double-header. Game 1: 16 hits but just 4 runs with 15 runners left on bases was the story of the afternoon for the Lions. Things started well, 3-2 Lions after 4 but 3 runs in the 5th put Brothers 5-3 ahead. Ryan Verdugo came out to pitch the final 4 innings and he once again struggled, giving up 8H, 4R including 2 big homers. Brothers 9 Lions 4, was the final score.

Game 2 saw Josh Roenicke make his 2nd start of the week and he conceded a quick 2 run homer to Lin Chih-sheng in the top of the 1st… That was as bad as it got for the Lions who dominated Brothers youngster Liao Yi-zhong with 11 hits and 7 runs in the opening 5. A good all-round hitting display by the Lions as the game ended Brothers 4-10 Uni Lions and a losing week was avoided.

The standings after week 19:

Fubon 12-8

Lamigo 11-8

Brothers 10-10

Lions 6-13


Week 20

Fubon Guardians v Uni Lions – 7th/8th Aug in Hualien

The CPBL went to Hualien for the first time this season and the first series of three involving Uni Lions was split. Uni Lions took an early 5-1 lead in the match-up between Alec Asher and Mike Loree. Fubon tied the game, in the top of the 5th and went 6-5 ahead with both runs off Jiang Cheng-feng. They would not relinquish the lead, and won 10-5.

Thursday’s game was a nailbiter with the score 5-5 after 7. Fubon went back ahead in the top of the 8th, only for Su Chih-chieh to get a 2 RBI single to put the Lions 7-6 up. The game was then suspended for 40 minutes due to heavy rain, Chen Yun-wen got the save and the Lions got the 7-6 win.

Lamigo Monkeys v Chinatrust Brothers – 6th/7th August at Taichung IC.

Lamigo Monkeys leading 6-2 after 6 innings usually means the game is safe, and there won’t be a fightback. No-one told the Monkeys bullpen this, as all six pitchers conceded and Brothers ended up winning 12-6 with 10 runs in the 7th and 8th innings.

On Wednesday 7th, Lamigo went 3-0 ahead in the top of the 1st and this was all they needed to do. Brothers were restricted to 6 hits, and a run in each the 3rd and 4th, Monkeys 3-2 Brothers was how it finished.

Fubon Guardians v Chinatrust Brothers – 10th/11th August at Tianmu.

This was a series where one side dominated either way in all three games. Friday’s game was cancelled due to rain and rearranged for Sunday lunchtime.

Saturday’s match saw Corey Bollinger against Casey Harman on the mound, with Harman coming out on top. He pitched a superb 7 innings with only 3 hits against him, Bollinger conceded 4 and Brothers would add 4 more after his departure. Kao Kuo-hui’s 9th inning run was a mere consolation.

In the Sunday lunchtime game, Brothers once again restricted Fubon Guardians with the bat. Liao Yi-zhong starred, just the 3 hits given up over 8 innings. Brothers hit four solo home runs as they came away 5-0 winners.

The Sunday evening match saw Mitch Lively have a shocking start, conceding 2 in each of first 3 innings. Fubon has no issues defending their lead, Chih Shih-peng with a dominant shut-out over the opening 7 innings. It ended Fubon Guardians 8 Chinatrust Brothers 1.

Lamigo Monkeys v Uni Lions – 9th/10th/11th August in Hualien.

Like the above series, one side had their way in two games and then the other had their own bit of fun in the 3rd game of the weekend.

Things started well for Uni Lions on Friday, 4-1 up after 4 then things fell off a cliff. Josh Roenicke and Liao Wen-yang the guilty parties, 9 runs in the 5th and 6th with a run apiece after that. Monkeys 10-5 Uni Lions.

Michael Nix produced his second shutout of the season as Lamigo Monkeys once again reinforced their stranglehold over the Uni Lions in 2019. The Lions had no answer to a Monkeys side who hit 4 home runs in a 15 hit, 10-0 mauling.

Revenge came swiftly as on Sunday we got one of the most unexpected results of the 2019 CPBL season. Uni Lions came out and took apart Matt Grimes, 5-0 Lions after 1 inning, Monkeys scored to make 5-1 in the top of the 2nd, Grimes came back out, conceded 2 more runs and was finished after 1.0 and 40 pitches. The fun didn’t stop there, as the Uni Lions completely and utterly savaged the Monkeys bullpen to lead 17-1 after 6 innings.

Of course, that wouldn’t be the end of the scoring as Uni Lions bullpen has been weak at best in 2019. Lamigo Monkeys hit 4 home runs in the last two innings to add to the Lions 5 homers, and we ended with 27 runs, it finished Lamigo Monkeys 8 Uni Lions 19 (NINETEEN)

As it stood, this was the table looked on Sunday 11th August.

Lamigo 14-10

Fubon 14-11

Brothers 13-12

Uni Lions 8-16


Thanks for the patience,