Sun, Aug 08, 2004 - Page 24 News List

Lin Ying-jeh makes batters look foolish

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Starter Lin Ying-jeh of the Cobras during a recent outing. Lin was voted Pitcher of the Month by the Chinese Baseball Writers Association. He had a .34 ERA in July.

PHOTO: CPBL

For the second time this season, Lin Ying-jeh (林英傑) was the run-away winner for the Pitcher of the Month honor.

The 23-year-old lefty ace for the Macoto Cobras went 3-0 with two saves and an ERA of only .34 during the month of July to convince 14 out of the 15 voters from the Chinese Baseball Writers Association that he was worthy of monthly distinction.

Lin recorded two complete shutout victories over a tough President Lions club in the same week to increase his team-high total number of wins to nine games for the season.

In two starts and four relief appearances, the former standout at Kaoyuan High School amassed 27 strikeouts and just three walks to stretch his league-best mark to 141 -- 26 more than the league's next pitcher.

Lin's pinpoint control often forces opposing hitters to swing at pitches that they would normally pass up. His exceptional control, coupled with his understanding of the hitter, have more than made up for his lack of an overpowering fastball, which tops out at around 143kmh.

"His pitches are always near the plate even though they are not very fast, so you have to swing at them if you don't want get struck out looking," Chen Rei-cheng (陳瑞振) of the Brother Elephants said. "He really makes the opposition work during each at-bat."

Opposing hitters batted a meager .122 in the 27 innings that Lin pitched lat month.

On offense

The Offensive Player of the Month honor for last month was claimed by Chang "the Prince of the Forest" Tai-shan (張泰山) of the Sinon Bulls for his deeds at the plate. Chang leads the league in batting, with a solid .413 average, total hits (19), home runs (4), and total RBI (19).

The All-Star slugger was a huge offensive threat to opposing teams, setting a new league mark in consecutive games with at least one RBI in nine consecutive games.

Chang has a comfortable 12-RBI lead over Cobras' cleanup man Hsieh Jia-shien (謝佳賢) and Chen "the Golden Warrior" Chih-yuan (陳致遠) of the Elephants, and is on pace to break the single-season mark in total RBI, set by American great Jay Kirkpatrick of the 1998 Bulls, who had 101.

"I'm a long way from from breaking the single-season RBI record," Chang said. "There's still a lot of baseball left to be played here. When I get into the 90s, I'll start thinking about it."

He attributed his recent success to being more patient at the plate, which has helped cut down on strikeouts.

Chang's surge has also jump-started an otherwise sluggish Bulls lineup. Fellow teammate Cheng Jau-han (鄭兆行), who usually bats after Chang in the order, also enjoyed a great month offensively (batting .312 in July) as opposing pitchers were forced to pitch to Cheng with Chang often getting on base right before him.

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