Lions Roar -- and Sweep -- their way to First-Place Tie

Lamigo Monkeys (29-23) at Uni Lions (28-22)

Game 1
Lamigo Monkeys 2 at Uni Lions 4
Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium, New Taipei City
Friday, September 22, 2017

WP:  No. 95 Chiang Cheng-Feng (2-1, 5.13 ERA)
LP:   No. 81 Lin Po-Yu (5-3, 3.75 ERA)
S: No. 41 Wang Ching-Ming (1)
MVP: Lions CF No. 6 Tang Chao-Ting (1-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, game-winning triple)

Game 2
Lamigo Monkeys 1 at Uni Lions 8
Tianmu Baseball Stadium, Taipei City
Saturday, September 23, 2017

WP:  No. 26 Bruce Billings (11-10, 3.98 ERA)
LP:   No. 75 Yeh Wen-Chi (0-1, 11.25 ERA)
MVP: Lions SP No. 26 Bruce Billings (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)

Game 3
Lamigo Monkeys 3 at Uni Lions 6
Tianmu Baseball Stadium, Taipei City
Sunday, September 24, 2017

WP:  No. 18 Pan Wei-Lun (6-3, 3.93 ERA)
LP:   No. 15 Lin Hua-Ching (6-4, 5.62 ERA)
S: No. 41 Wang Ching-Ming (2)
MVP: Lions SS No. 24 Chen Chieh-Hsien (3-3, 3 R)

Series Notes:

  • First off, congratulations to the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions on franchise win no. 1,500 (accomplished in Game 2 of the series)! The Lions are the only team that has persevered through the ups-and-downs of the CPBL since its inaugural season in 1990 (when many of their current players weren’t even born yet!). Current pitching coach and former Lions pitcher, Tu Fu-Ming, is the lone member that has been there through it all. Tu, in fact, was the winning pitcher back on March 17, 1990 for the Lions first win. It takes a team effort from top to bottom...hats off to the Lions organization.
  • In a rare “homestand” up north (total of 14,439 fans across three games) the Lions roared -- and swept -- their way to a first-place tie with the Lamigo Monkeys by winning all three games. Proving once again that they are King of the Jungle, the Lions outplayed their counterpart in convincing fashion. I wonder if they were playing Hakuna Matata in the clubhouse because they sure seemed worry free! OK, I’ll stop now….
  • Monkeys SP Zeke Spruill was magnificent in Game 1 against the Lions, hurling seven shutout innings and giving up only two hits and one walk. Spruill was in line for win No. 14 before the bullpen squandered a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the eighth. RP Lin Po-Yu walked the first two batters of the inning. A sac-bunt and a single later, he would be replaced by RP Wang Yueh-Lin who then gave up a go-ahead two-run triple to Lions CF and game MVP Tang Chao-Ting. By the time the inning was over the Lions were all of a sudden up 4-2.
  • To wrap things up the Lions brought in RP Wang Ching-Ming in the top of the ninth instead of closer Chen Yun-Wen, who had given up four runs in a loss the night before. Wang collected his first save of the season (13th of his career).
  • Lions SP Liao Wen-Yang was solid in his five innings, surrendering two runs on five hits and two walks. His punchout of Monkeys SS Lin Cheng-Fei in the third inning was career K no. 400 (five total in the game). The seven-year veteran owns a 38-38 career record and a 4.62 ERA.
  • No comeback was necessary in Game 2 as the Lions led from start to finish in a commanding 8-1 victory. Despite a season 1-5 record against the Monkeys, Lions SP Bruce Billings decided to lead by example after motivating the team with his calligraphy of “victory” and “believe” in Mandarin. No moment epitomized this more than Billings’ epic 14-pitch battle with Monkeys SS Kuo Yung-Wei to end the top of the seventh. After giving up his only run of the game (solo homer to Monkeys 1B Chu Yu-Hsien), Billings left the mound with some rare emotion as he fist-pumped his way to the dugout after striking out Kuo on his 115th pitch of the night. His seven innings of one-run ball earned him a game MVP award while also returning his ERA to under 4 at 3.98. And as icing on the cake, Billings recorded career strikeout no. 300 in the top of the second.
  • On the offensive side, the Lions were spearheaded by 1B Kuo Fu-Lin who went three-for-five with two runs scored and one RBI on his eighth homer of the season. Rookie Chen Chung-Ting also smacked a solo shot, the first homerun of his career.
  • “Mr. Sunday”, Lions SP Pan Wei-Lun was at it again as he wrapped up the series with his fourth win in a row, going 6.1 innings and surrendering three earned runs on nine hits and no walks. Pan was on cruise control until a single and three consecutive doubles knocked him out of the game with one out in the seventh. In his last five outings, Pan has averaged 6.1 innings, six hits, 1.2 earned runs, one walk, and 5.2 strikeouts per game. Not too shabby for the 35-year old veteran.
  • The MVP of the series was undoubtedly the Lions relief corps. Across the three wins, the bullpen fired 8.2 innings and allowed only six hits, no walks, and no runs while whiffing 10 batters. The dominance comes with an apparent change at closing duties as for the second straight save opportunity, RP Wang Ching-Ming’s number was called upon to close the game instead of Chen Yun-Wen. Wang did his part to keep the gig by going two innings with no hits or walks and three strikeouts in his two saves.
  • Buckle up fans. With the end of the regular season nearing, the Lions and Monkeys are tied at the top, separated by mere percentage points in the standings. The Lions have 10 games left with the Monkeys playing eight more. They only play each other one more time so the Guardians and Brothers can spoil the party in the last two weeks of the season. It certainly makes for an interesting and exciting finish!
  • The Monkeys lead the season series 25-14 but the Lions have the upper hand in the second half 11-8.


Post a Comment