Riding the red-hot hitting of sluggers Lin Chih-sheng and Lin “Chubby Kid” Hung-yu, the Lamigo Monkeys have won five straight and six of their past eight (as of Wednesday) to pull within a game of the league-leading EDA Rhinos in the standings.
The bashing tandem for the Primates has dominated the opposing pitching in the last week by going a combined 20-for-39 (.513 batting average) with 20 RBIs and five home runs to bring the roar back for the defending champions, who opened the season with a somewhat disappointing start, but have steadily improved to become title-contenders.
“I guess I am seeing the ball better than at the start of the season. That is always helpful,” Lin Chih-sheng said earlier this week when asked about his recent hitting surge.
He leads the league in most home runs and RBIs with nine and 33 respectively (as of Wednesday), while trailing the EDA Rhinos’ Chang Chien-ming in batting average by a slim .423 to .421 margin.
“It helps with ‘Chubby Kid’ batting behind you, since [opposing pitchers] are less likely to pitch away from me,” Lin Chih-sheng added, referring to the added protection that Lin Hung-yu provides to discourage the opposing pitchers from walking him.
Lurking not far behind 33-year-old Lin Chih-sheng in the rankings is the 29-year-old “Chubby Kid,” who has seven homers and 29 RBIs to go along with his solid .343 batting average.
“There is no doubt that they are the main reason why we are playing as well as we have been, as the opposing teams are trying to figure out a way to contain them,” Lamigo coach Hung Yi-chung said in a recent interview.
His troops have averaged nearly nine runs per game during their five-game winning streak.
The Primates have an opportunity to top the standings with a three-game road series against the top-ranked Rhinos at the Kaohsiung Cheng Ching Lake Baseball Stadium this weekend.
It should be a big draw for the Rhinos as the Primates also consider it a homecoming since it was not long ago that their predecessors (the La New Bears) called Kaohsiung their home before moving to Taoyuan.
All eyes are likely to be on Lin Chih-sheng and Chang Chien-ming as they take each at-bat with the batting title to play for.
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