Fri, May 16, 2003 - Page 23 News List

Steady play aids Bulls' charge to the top

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

As a three-team race heats up, the Sinon Bulls are at the top of the league standings. The Bulls have won all 12 series this season, demonstrating remarkable consistency. The Bulls are the only team that has not lost more than two consecutive games all season long.

By comparison, the ChinaTrust Whales are as streaky as they come. While the Whales lead the league in the number of games where they have scored in double digits (seven), they also have been shutout three times, only slightly better than the last-placed First Securities Agan, which have endured six shutouts.

Since April 25th, the Lions are 1-8, with many tough ball games coming up, which include series with the Whales, the Elephants, and the Bulls.

The Lions have slumped mostly because of the absence of solid pitching that brought the Lions their early successes.

Besides ace of the staff, Joe Davenport (8-1 with 2.10 ERA), who suffered his first defeat of the season against the Bulls on April 30th, the Lions have only one other reliable starter in its rookie sensation Pan Wei-luen [(潘威倫), 5-1 with 1.76 ERA], who missed recent games after contracting the chickenpox last week.

Despite all the things that the Bulls are doing right (first in team batting average at .310 and second in team ERA at 3.18), manager Chen Wei-chen (陳威成) still has problems with pitching depth.

Round Up

The Agan showed some signs of competitiveness in the first two games this week against the Whales in Chiayi. Although both games ended with the Whales coming from behind to take the win, new Agan interim manager Tsai Rong-tsung (蔡榮宗) was able to rally his players in two close games against the Whales (2-4 on Tuesday and 6-7 on Wednesday).

Newly arrived Whale third baseman Juan Melo was the difference in both games against the Agan earlier this week. The switch-hitting Dominican Republic native knocked in the game-winner on both nights as he went 3 for 7 with 4 RBI's and one home run.

Upcoming Games

The Whales will look to continue their winning ways against the Agan as the two teams finish the four-game series up north in Hsinchu on Friday and Hsinchuang on Saturday.

The Bulls took on the Elephants in Kaohsiung yesterday, and they will meet again in Taichung today and in Tienmu on Sunday as they try to protect their slim lead against the Whales.

Elephants skipper Lin Yi-tseng (林易增) will put ace starter Jonathan Hurst to the mound.

A three-game series between the Lions and the Makoto Gida began in Hsinchuang yesterday, and will continue in Hualien tomorrow and Sunday.

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