"Fitting right in" is the best way to describe Jeff Andra's season so far with the Sinon Bulls of the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL). The 28-year-old left-handed ace from Shawnee Mission, Kansas is having a monstrous year on the mound for the Bulls. He extended his record for the season to 11-0 after Friday night's 2-0 shutout victory against the President Lions in Taichung.
After playing college ball at the University of Oklahoma, Andra was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the mid-1990s to begin what turned out to be a long and tough career in the minors.
The southpaw pitched for the Elmira Pioneers of the Northeast League last year after spending some time with the Shreveport Swamp Dragons of the Texas League in 2001.
Since his arrival in Taiwan at the beginning of the season, Andra has maintained a league-leading 1.80 ERA with 106 strikeouts -- second only to teammate Osvaldo Maritinez's 115.
His 3-0 record with a 2.08 ERA and 15 Ks in the month of May earned him the Pitcher of the Month honors.
The soft-spoken Andra is so effective with his fastball and slider that opposing batters are averaging only .206 against him.
Andra's durability and versatility are also major attributes. In addition to his 16starts, Andra also came out of the bullpen in five relief appearances.
"We are extremely fortunate that Andra has been able to average around seven innings per start for us," Bulls manager Chen Wei-cheng (
Unlike some foreign players who struggle with local cuisine, Andra feels right at home when it comes to mealtime.
"With very few exceptions, there is nothing on the dinner table that Andra won't eat," Bulls interpreter Chang Po-jen (張博仁) told reporters earlier in the season.
Andra is now just three games shy of the record for most consecutive victories by a pitcher, set by Kuo Chin-hsin (
"I'm just trying to take them one at a time" Andra said earlier in the season. "I will make sure that I make the most out of this season with the Bulls."