Eleven games into the season, the Uni-President Lions have clearly established themselves as the team to beat with a league-best 8-3 record (through Wednesday) thanks to the red-hot hitting trio of Chang “OEO” Tai-shan, Mike Cervenak and Chen Yung-chi.
The big three bashing brothers for the Cats may not have the batting averages to place them among the top five in the league, but when it comes to total run production they are among the top five, with a combined RBI total of 31, giving the top-ranked Lions nearly three runs per contest.
“With that kind of run support, it’s pretty hard to lose,” baseball commentator Chung Chung-tsai said last week.
The Lions not only have the best team batting average in the league at .327, but also the highest runs scored per game at 6.18, more than a run per game higher than the Lamigo Monkeys’ 5.00 runs per game for second-best.
With Chang having chosen to close out his career in a Lions uniform at the start of the 2011 season, rather than accepting an offer from his former club (formerly known as the Sinon Bulls and now the EDA Rhinos) as their fulltime hitting coach, the veteran longball threat has rediscovered his hitting groove in a new role as the Lions’ designated hitter by belting a home run, two doubles and a rare triple so far to drive in a league-best 13 runs.
With Chang providing plenty of protection from his cleanup spot, newly acquired Mike Cervenak of the US has flourished at the plate for the Cats with a .310 batting average, two homers and nine RBIs in 11 games.
Rounding out the bashing trio for the Lions is Chen, who is also finding success in his new role as the leadoff man after spending the past two seasons further down the batting order. The former minor leaguer with the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics is tied with two other players for No. 3 in the league in total RBIs at nine to go along with his .364 average and 24 total bases.
The Lions also have the league’s top hitter, Kao Chih-kang, with a formidable .417 average, not to mention the expected return of two-time batting champ Pan “TAKE” Wu-hsiung, who is out with an injury and whose return will only make the Lions even tougher to face.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first