1) A combined payroll of 360,000,000 NT? So what? Over 200 total home runs this season? No problem. Oh, and 80+ wins for the pitching staff? Bring it! Nothing beats watching your national team score a big victory in international play. Congratulations to Chinese Taipei as they stunned a who's who all-star team from Korea in their opening game of pool play at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
Taiwan's team, composed mostly of the country's top amateur players (plus seven CPBL players), defeated a star-studded Korean team 2-1 last night behind the strong pitching of Wu Sheng-Feng (5 IP, 4 hits, 1 run) and a two-run first inning bomb off the bat of veteran Lin Chia-Yo . There is still work to do but it is a huge boost of confidence and it puts Taiwan in the driver's seat as they face Hong Kong today and Indonesia tomorrow.
Brothers OF Chan Tze-Hsien and Monkeys IF Lin Cheng-Fei both started the game but did not contribute to any of Chinese Taipei's five hits.
2) His stay in the CPBL may be short-lived but Japanese import Chinen Kohya's commitment and love for baseball are deserving of our applause.
The Uni Lions' SP signed on with the team at the beginning of the season with a "do whatever it takes" attitude, all for an opportunity to pitch in the CPBL. Armed with nothing more than two seasons in an independent league out of Japan (Baseball Challenge Leauge), Kohya received that opportunity this past Wednesday against the Fubon Guardians. The first four innings went swimmingly as Kohya would give up only one run on a foul ball sac-fly. However, the wheels came off the wagon as Kohya surrendered six more runs on five hits and would not make it out of the fifth inning, finishing with a line of 4.2 IP, nine hits, seven earned runs, two walks, and five strikeouts.
And yet, in an interview after the game, Kohya was still able to say it was the most enjoyable game of his career. It doesn't matter what level you are playing at, there is something to be learned from Chinen Kohya.
3) New Fubon Guardian's import pitcher Taylor Jordan's first start, on the other hand, could not have gone better. The former Washington National held the vaunted Monkeys offense to one run in seven innings, scattering four hits and a walk to go with six strikeouts on his way to game-MVP honors. Jordan featured a 142-145 kmph fastball to go along with a nasty change-up, evidenced by 13 groundball outs. Loree has the splitter, Woodall spins the slider, so Jordan's change-up will be a nice complement to the Guardians staff as they make a push to climb out of the bottom spot in the standings.
4) So with the August 31 deadline to finalize import players looming, will we see more changes this week? Last week's victim was Bruce Billings, who wrapped up a 2-9 season after logging 102.1 innings with a 5.72 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. The Lions have Andy Van Hekken (4.1 innings, 6 hits, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K last week in minors) and the Brothers have Bennett Parry (3 innings, 4 hits, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 K last week) but both turned in uninspiring performances. The Monkeys, unless someone swoops in at the 11th hour, will finish the season with their trio of Nix, Kern, and Spruill.
5) Two more rainouts have pushed the CPBL season into the second week of Oct.
6) Guardians SP Bryan Woodall reclaimed the lead for most wins with a masterful seven inning, three hit, and no runs performance in a 13-3 win over the Lions on Wednesday. The win was No. 11 for the rightie.
7) Brothers SP Mitch Lively spun his best game of the year in matching Woodall's seven shutout innings. The big right-hander was brilliant in the first game of a doubleheader against the Lions on Saturday. Lively gave up only 4 hits, walked one, and punched out 10 for his fourth win of the season. This on the heels of seven innings and one run against the Monkeys in his last start. The guy may be big but he can dance.
8) Guardians 2018 second-round pick Wang Cheng-Tang is off to a nice start for his CPBL career. The youngster out of National Taiwan University of Sport hasn't stopped hitting since his first start on August 22. Wang has hit in five straight going 10-for-21 with four RBI and seven runs scored.
9) It's going to be an exciting week of baseball coming up! With only four games separating the top and bottom of the standings, every game has the potential to have an impact. I'm curious to see if the Guardians have finally put it all together (5-1 in their last six games) for the final quarter of play and if the Monkeys can snap out of their funk (2-4 in their last six) to hit their stride for the playoffs. If I were to pick one series to watch, in addition to rooting on Chinese Taipei, I would circle the Brothers-Monkeys matchup in Taoyuan this weekend.