Fri, May 23, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Elephants’ poor season riles fans, management

By Paul Huang  /  Contributing reporter

With their current losing skid matching a season-high six, the Chinatrust Brother Elephants have struggled on both sides of the ball with a dismal 11-1-28 record, distressing their management and fans.

So much was expected of the what was thought to be a new-and-improved Elephants at the start of the season, with the most storied franchise in the league finding a new owner and signing former Nippon Professional Baseball League standouts Lin Wei-chu and Cheng Kai-wen to breathe new life into the club.

However, the Elephants have not been able to live up to those lofty expectations, with Lin out until at least August to rehabilitate his injured left knee and fellow sluggers Peng “Chia Chia” Cheng-min (hitting .260) and Chou Si-chi (demoted to the minors) not exactly picking up the slack at the plate, even though Cheng has done his part with a 2.20 earned run average that is No. 2 in the league.

From a statistical perspective, the Elephant pitching really has not been too bad, as their earned run average of 3.94 is second best in the league, while the opposing batters’ average of .244 is No. 3 among the four squads.

This naturally points to the team’s anemic offense, which is dead last in the league in most statistical categories, including runs per game (3.08), team batting average (.239) and team on-base average (.302).

The man in the hot seat is undoubtedly the Elephants hitting coach Wang Chin-yung, who took over the job from Hsu Min-lan at the start of the season.

“Not having a steady lineup really makes it hard on the players. That may be one of the problems, but I am not saying that’s the only reason why we haven’t been hitting well,” Wang said after his team was swept by the Lamigo Monkeys in their series in Hualien last weekend.

Regardless of what the problem may be, the fact remains that the Elephants have been shut out in five of their past 10 games, and neither skipper Hsieh Chang-hen nor the front office has much patience left. Pressure is mounting, with Wang’s job at stake should the men in the golden uniforms fail to produce at the plate over the next month as the first half of the season draws to a close.

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