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.
Olivier Giroud’s bicycle-kick on Tuesday broke Atletico Madrid’s resistance and earned Chelsea a crucial away goal, a 1-0 victory giving Thomas Tuchel’s side a slender advantage in the UEFA Champions League last 16. Giroud’s acrobatic strike was initially ruled out for offside, but stood after the video assistant referee showed that Mario Hermoso had the final touch, delivering a huge blow to Atletico’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals. Diego Simeone’s side had put on a typically disciplined defensive performance until that point, but Giroud’s moment of genius means that they must score in London on March 17 if they are to avoid
Tiger Woods has had surgery for multiple fractures of his right leg after a car accident that a Los Angeles police officer said he was “very fortunate” to have survived. The golfer was “awake and responsive” after the operation to insert a rod into his tibia and stabilize his ankle with pins, his TGR foundation said on Tuesday night. Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Carlos Gonzalez, the first to respond after Woods’ car went off the road in a single-vehicle accident, said that the sports star was “calm and lucid,” despite being trapped inside his vehicle. Woods was removed from the crash by
‘ESCAPE FROM JUSTICE’: A US gymnast who trained under Geddert for more than 10 years and was assaulted by Larry Nassar called his suicide ‘an admission of guilt’ A former US Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar on Thursday killed himself, hours after being charged with turning his Michigan gym into a hub of human trafficking by coercing girls to train and then abusing them. John Geddert faced 24 charges that could have carried years in prison had he been convicted. He was supposed to appear in an Eaton County court, near Lansing, Michigan, but his body was found at a rest area along Interstate 96, state police said. “This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved,” Michigan Attorney General Dana
WARMING UP? Coco Gauff next faces Shelby Rogers in the quarter-finals at Memorial Drive after losing to fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina in straight sets at the Australian Open Coco Gauff’s five-week stay in Australia was yesterday extended with a second-round win at the Adelaide International. The 16-year-old American beat sixth-seeded Petra Martic 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the quarter-finals of the hard-court tournament at Memorial Drive. It was Gauff’s fourth consecutive win, after two in qualifying and another in the first round. Gauff lost to fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina in straight sets at the Australian Open. During her Australian Open debut last year, she lost to eventual champion Sofia Kenin in three sets in the fourth round. Today, Gauff faces Shelby Rogers in the quarter-finals. In other matches, second-seeded Belinda Bencic advanced with