1) Congratulations are in order for Lamigo Monkeys manager Hung I-Chung as he added another jewel to his already stellar coaching crown. Hung notched career win No. 800 this past Thursday in a 10-6 win over the Uni Lions. Win No. 1 came way back in 2004, also against the Lions, and there are surely more to come as Hung continues to increase his already untouchable win total (No. 2 on the list is the late Hsu Sheng-Ming at 715 wins, No. 3 is former Brothers manager Hsieh Chang-Heng at 339 wins). Tip of the hat to who is without a doubt CPBL's most successful manager of all time.
2) Hung could have had win No. 800 one night earlier but his defense did all they could to gift a win to the Lions, 11-7. The Lions scored 10 runs off of the Monkeys' bullpen in the ninth and tenth innings, aided by three defensive miscues, none more costly than a single to Monkeys LF Lan Yen-Lun in the ninth that went under his glove, allowing three runs to score to tie the game. The two teams pounded out 51 hits in their two-game series but also committed a combined 10 errors....
3) Mother Nature had her way this past week as three games were rescheduled for October, one was suspended after two innings (Monkeys vs. Guardians), and yet another was called after seven innings (5-3 win, Brothers over the Lions). Tien Mu Stadium was clearly not prepared for the onslaught of rain. I'm not sure which one is worse -- wading through water in the clubhouse or playing on an ill-prepared field (Asian Games in Jakarta).
4) Former major leaguer and this year's first-round draft pick C.C. Lee (Lee Chen-Chang) has really stabilized the Brothers' bullpen. Lee collected his sixth save of the season in 10 appearances and has done so with relative ease. Lee has surrendered just two runs in his 10.1 innings (1.74 ERA), giving up 10 hits and one walk while punching out eight. After a mess of a first-half for the Brothers' bullpen, it must be nice knowing you can call on C.C's number in the ninth. I might add he is the only pitcher with his own walkout song.
5) Speaking of dominant closers, there are a couple of other showstoppers on a hot streak of their own. Lions closer Chen Yun-Wen hasn't given up a run since July 12 and has saved nine straight (13 total). Fubon's stopper Ni Fu-Te hasn't blown a save since May 3 and has closed out 12 in a row (12 total). The Monkeys "Mayor", Chen Yun-Hsun, on the other hand has been scuffling as of late. After close to two months on the DL, Chen recorded a save back on Aug. 11; however, this past week he walked both batters he faced on Aug. 15 before being taken out and gave up a go-ahead two-run home run to Chen Pin-Chieh in a 6-4 loss to the Guardians this past Saturday.
6) Guardians' OF Kao Guo-Hwei returned to action on August 16 after almost 2 months on the DL and immediately made his presence felt by going two-for-four, including a blast to left-center. Kao will add some much-needed punch to the Guardians' lineup who have had an underwhelming season so far.
7) You never want to see a player hit the DL but Brothers SS Chen Wei-Han has made the most of his opportunity after Wang Sheng-Wei was injured back in June (Wang is playing rehab games in the minors now). "Manny" is hitting a robust .333 but it's his defensive prowess that has been fun to watch. Check out this gem from Saturday's game against the Lions.
8) Lions 1B Teng Chih-Wei has come out of the woodwork and is demolishing the baseball after an abysmal first half (.169 average). Teng is chewing on an eight-game hit and RBI streak after blasting five homers in his last six games, including a six-for-six, three-homer game back on Aug. 11. He has pounded out 17 hits, 18 RBI, and scored 12 times in that span.
9) Brothers' SP Elih Villanueva was the benefactor of a rain-shortened game in a 5-3 win over the Lions yesterday. It was the righty's first career CPBL victory.
10) With the league's Aug. 31 deadline to add an import looming, there are sure to be some personnel changes on the horizon. The Lions have Andy Van Hekken (they have already released David Martinez), Fubon is about to call up former Washington National Taylor Jordan, and the Brothers have lefty Bennett Parry waiting in the wings. The Monkeys had quite the debacle in trying to sign Luke Heimlich as they are more than likely left to go the distance with their current imports of Michael Nix, Bruce Kern, and Zeke Spruill.
11) It's been an exciting second-half so far and it's shaping up to be a tight race. Three games separate the Lions, Brothers, and Monkeys at the top but with how often teams play each other, no one can be counted out, including the last place Guardians who are six games out of first. My series to watch this week is this weekend's Lions-Brothers matchup down South.