Fri, May 30, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Monkeys’ clutch play puts them in a favorable spot

BY Paul Huang  /  Contributing reporter

Being able to deliver in clutch moments more often than not, the league-leading Lamigo Monkeys have taken a four-game cushion over the second-placed Uni-President Lions in the standings to put themselves in a good position for a chance to win the first-half title.

Wednesday night’s 2-1 win over the Cats was a case in point, as the Primates’ Kuo Yen-wen delivered in the clutch by singling off Lions reliever Boof Bonser, with a runner on second and two outs in the bottom of the ninth to knock off the Cats.

The narrow margin of victory also marked the Primates’ eighth close win in the past two months as they boast a solid eight wins in 13 games decided by a run over the same span. Had their record been reversed in those one-run games, the Lions would easily be in top spot.

“This a game of inches; we are where we are because we’ve been able to win the close ones, even though we’ve also lost our share of close games,” Monkeys skipper Hung Yi-chung said earlier in the week.

His club’s ability to deliver in the clutch should be recognized as the result of some solid coaching, as well as a core group of Taiwanese veteran hitters in Lin Chih-sheng, Lin Hung-yu and Kuo, whose mere presence at the plate poses a serious threat to opposing pitchers.

It also reflects the club’s deliberate decision to commit the three allotted roster slots for foreign players to pitching, as opposed to some teams who have hired foreign sluggers for added offensive boost.

With the chase for the first-half title shaping to be a two-team race between the Monkeys and the Lions, the final month of play promises to be an exciting one.

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