The Rakuten Monkeys remained atop the CPBL table, despite a 5-7 loss to the Uni-President Lions in Taoyuan yesterday, while the CTBC Brothers fell to the Fubon Guardians at the Taichung Intercontinental Stadium.
The visiting Guardians blasted three home runs in their 7-3 triumph, helping Dominican pitcher Henry Sosa pocket his second win of the season.
Improving his record to 2-2, Sosa sailed through seven innings, allowing six hits while striking out five. He gave up one earned run in the opening frame, with two Brothers relievers mopping up the final two innings.
Fubon’s marquee stars, designated hitter Hu Chin-lung and first baseman Lin Yi-chuan, hit solo homers, but it was the three-run shot by shortstop Lee Chung-hsien that did most of the damage in their fourth-inning surge.
The visitors stayed ahead for rest of the contest.
All three homers came against CTBC’s Cuban lefty starter Ariel Miranda, who was tagged with the loss. He lasted only five innings, yielding six runs, four of them earned.
His team used four relievers.
Pinch hitter Hsu Ji-hong gave his team some cause for celebration, breaking a long slump as he clobbered a two-run dinger late in the game.
Hsu scored two of CTBC’s three runs in the contest.
For the Lions, outfielder Su Chi-chieh slammed a solo shot to extend his team’s league record of hitting a home run in 22 straight games.
However, with their power hitting in the early-season encounters, the Monkeys remained in first place on 16 wins and six defeats, while the other three teams were all below .500 after yesterday’s results.
With this month being affected by rain, most of the games last week were rained out.
The main topic of discussion amid the washouts was the CPBL’s “juiced ball” controversy.
Since spring training and the start of the season early last month, home run numbers have shot up, with players and fans saying that balls seem to be flying farther and faster, and bouncing higher, even when not hit with the sweet spot.
Domestic and foreign observers covering the CPBL, which for a while was the only pro baseball league in action until South Korea’s KBO League started on May 5, have written extensively that the CPBL is heaven for hitters, while pitchers are getting knocked around game after game.
The CPBL has a contract with Taiwan’s Sakurai for its 990 series baseballs. Two tests have shown that the balls have a coefficient of restitution (COR) of 0.574 to 0.571, which officials said is within the league’s mandated range of 0.540 to 0.580.
However, experts said that the balls are “juiced,” with the values higher than the past three seasons: 0.560 in 2017, 0.562 in 2018 and 0.563 last year.
Experts said that even a minute change in the values — which are a measure of a ball’s bounciness and expected travel distance — can make the difference between a home run and a flyout.
With the value at more than 0.571 this year, the CPBL has had 2.75 homers per game, with some contests exceeding 20 runs and some stretching late into the night.
The home run averages were 2.14, 1.66, and 2.06 in the past three years.
League officials last week said that the balls would be “dejuiced” for the second half, reportedly asking Sakurai to provide balls with COR values of 0.560.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
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