Taiwanese and international sports media lauded slugger Chu Yu-hsien of the Rakuten Monkeys, dubbing him “the new Babe Ruth” and “the world’s home run king” after he blasted another shot out of the ballpark to bring his season total to eight in eight games, but their pitching woes continued as they lost two to the Uni-President Lions over the weekend.
Although Rakuten’s first baseman has had hot hands to start the season, he cooled off somewhat last night, picking up only one hit in four at-bats as his team slumped to second straight defeat to the roaring Lions.
The Monkeys on Friday had made history with their seventh consecutive win, breaking their own 2011 record of six wins to start a season, behind a pitching gem by starter Wang Yi-cheng in a 14-4 rout of the Lions in Tainan.
Photo: Huang Chih-yuan, Taipei Times
However, the Lions have awoken from their early-season slumber, scoring 20 runs over the weekend against Rakuten pitching staff and winning 12-5 yesterday.
Chu gained more fans around the world when with one runner on, he unloaded on an offering from Lions’ lefty Ryan Feierabend, sending it into the stands over right field.
Photo: Huang Chih-yuan, Taipei Times
Taiwan commentators and netizens said that all of his homers have been from Lions’ pitchers, but no matter how it was done, Chu was the hottest star in baseball.
US sports media have labeled him “the new Babe Ruth,” after the US Major League Baseball star of the early 20th century, for his home run exploits.
Chu led in all of the offense categories in the CPBL, topping the charts with eight dingers, along with 17 RBIs, a batting average of .514 and 18 hits.
His form has continued from last year, when he won the League MVP award.
His exploits have led to attention in Japan, where fans are watching the action in Taiwan with the Nippon Baseball League suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Japanese sports journalists said many of their baseball fans are excited by Chu’s slugging power and have suggested that a Japanese team sign him.
In Saturday’s game, Rakuten went ahead 7-2 early on, but the Lions chipped away and were behind 7-6 in the ninth frame when they rocked Rakuten closer Chen Yu-hsuen with two runs for a thrilling comeback win to finish at 8-7 for the home team.
In New Taipei City yesterday, the Fubon Guardians hit three homers to edge out the CTBC Brothers 5-4, with closer Chen Hung-wen chalking up a save in the final inning at the Sinjuang Stadium.
The Guardians celebrated at home, with catcher Tai Pei-feng, first baseman Fan Kuo-chen and slugger Chiang Chih-hsien hitting homers.
In Saturday’s game, it was the Brothers’ pitchers who held firm late, producing a 6-5 win.
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