Fri, Aug 15, 2003 - Page 24 News List

John Frascatore beefs up Lions' pitching

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Former Major League Baseball player John Frascatore of Ozone Park, New York, has quickly become one of the top pitchers in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. He scorched the oppostion in Taiwan last weekend.

PHOTO: LIN CHENG-KUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

After a disappointing first half of the season (24-3-23), the President Lions appear to have pulled things together in the second half to make a serious run for the title.

Amid a five-game winning streak, the Lions have won 10 of the past 13 games with a 4.5-run average margin of victory in those wins. Contributing four of those 10 wins is former major leaguer John Frascatore of Ozone Park, New York (4-2 with a 2.05 ERA).

Frascatore joined the Lions in June and was initially treated to a couple of tough losses against the league-leading Brother Elephants and the first-half champs Sinon Bulls. Winless in his first two games, the 33-year-old right-hander has since settled in and won the next four contests by allowing a total of four runs in those games, slashing his ERA from over 5 to 2.05.

In addition to his low earned-run average, Frascatore's 45 strikeouts in 44 innings put him at the same level as strikeout leader Osvaldo Martinez of the Bulls, who has fanned 133 hitters in 123 innings this season.

Experts attribute Frascatore's success to his power and control. His ability to get ahead early in the count gives him the edge against hitters and is the main reason that he has only issued seven walks so far.

"Frascatore has a devastating slider,"Lions catcher Tseng Chih-cheng (曾智偵) told local Chinese-language media. "His slider has gotten him out of more than a few tough jams."

Round Up

Riding its three-game sweep of the Makoto Gida last week, the Lions continued their winning ways as they beat the Chinatrust Whales in the series opener in Tainan on Tuesday by a score of 2-1.

Lions starter John Burgos went the distance in a winning effort for the home team as he allowed one run on five hits while striking out seven.

The American left-hander took a shutout into the ninth before yielding a run-scoring double to Whales catcher Shih Chin-sho (石金受) with two outs.

Doing the damage on the offensive front was Tseng Yang-chih (曾揚志), whose RBI single broke the ice for the Lions in the bottom of the seventh before designated hitter Lou Ming-ching (羅敏卿) made it 2-0 with his liner up the middle off of Whales reliever Maximo Rosa in the bottom of the eighth.

The lack of run support dealt Whales starter Hsieh Cheng-hsun (謝承勳) his fifth loss of the season in an otherwise solid outing. Hsieh allowed one run on five hits over 6-1/3 innings.

Game 2 of the series featured another quality start for Lions starter John Frascatore, who seems to have turned his game up a notch, going 4-0 in his last four starts.

Frascatore followed his complete-game victory against the Gida last week with a 5-0 rout of the Whales Wednesday.

The former major leaguer allowed eight hits in as many innings to go with 11 strikeouts before handing the game to closer Tsao Jung-yang (曹竣揚) in the ninth inning.

Offensively for the Lions, the night belonged to designated hitter Lou Ming-ching, whose solo home-run blast off of reliever Liu Yu-jan (柳裕展) in the bottom of the sixth marked his 101st homer in his 14-year career as a professional. Also starring for the Lions was second baseman Yoshimi Hiroaki, whose 2-for-4 night topped all hitters in the game.

The victories put the Lions ahead of the Bulls in the standings and only one game behind the Elephants.

Upcoming Games

Two of the three games between the Bulls and the First Securities Agan take place in Taichung yesterday and today before they do battle in Hsinchu on Sunday.

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