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CPBL Update: May 3 to May 9

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We check in on our adopted CPBL team, the Uni-President Lions.

Fubon Guardians v Uni-Lions - CPBL
Uni-President Lions third baseman, Fu-Lin Kuo
Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images

As regular From Complex to Queens listeners know, we’ve decided to start following a CPBL team in the absence of Mets baseball for the foreseeable future. We picked a team and will post updates on how they’re doing over in Taiwan. Why the Uni-President Lions?

  • Tainan City, home of the Lions, is one of the oldest and largest cities in Taiwan
  • Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium is directly under the flight path of airplanes flying in and out of the nearby Tainan Airport.
  • The team has talent and looks good on paper but has been thwarted time and time again in the last few years by poor on-the-field field management and front office executive decisions.
  • Employed in their organization at one time or another former player and SNY analyst Nelson Figueroa, Columbia Fireflies pitching coach Jerome Williams, former manager Mickey Callaway, and Generation K member Bill Pulsipher.

Sounds like the Mets to me!

May 03 (7-9)

Fubon Guardians 12, Uni-President Lions 7 (BOX)

The Guardians took an early lead, but the Lions came roaring back, scoring five runs in the bottom of the third to make it a 5-1 game. Just as suddenly as they took the lead, starter Tzu-Chien Shih and reliever Hao-Chun Chiu gave it right back, allowing Fubon to score four runs in the fourth, tying things up at 5-5 apiece. The Guardians kept the pressure up, plating six runs off Josh Roenicke in his 2020 debut, whereas the Lions were able to manage only just two more.

  • SS Chieh-Hsien Chen (#24): 1-2, R, 2 BB, E (2)
  • 2B-3B Chung-Ting Chen (#66): 0-1
  • SS-2B-SS Ching-Kai Lin (#64): 0-5, K
  • RF An-Ko Lin (#77): 0-5, K
  • LF Chih-Chieh Su (#32): 0-1, 2 R, 3 BB
  • DH Fu-Lin Kuo (#5): 3-5, 4 R, HR (4), 5 RBI
  • 3B Yung-Chi Chen (#13): 1-2, RBI, K, E (1)
  • PH-SS Tzu-Chieh Lin (#39): 0-1, K
  • 1B Chih-Wei Teng (#25): 0-4, K
  • CF Chao-Ting Tang (#6): 0-3, R, BB, K, E (1)
  • C Yu-Le Lin (#31): 1-3, R, BB
  • RHP Tzu-Chien Shih (#35): 4.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, HR, L (2-1)
  • RHP Hao-Chun Chiu (#37): 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Josh Roenicke (#30): 3.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, HR
  • RHP Yun-Wen Chen (#12): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

May 05 (7-10)

CTBC Brothers 8, Uni-President Lions 5 (BOX)

Donn Roach’s struggles in the CPBL continued, as he allowed eight runs- seven earned- over just four innings. The 30-year-old right-hander currently owns an unsightly 10.18 ERA in four starts. Roach signed with the Lions this past January and became member of a very exclusive club, as there have only been twenty or so men who have played in the MLB, NPB, KBO, and CPBL. Young phenom An-Ko Lin led the offense with his sixth homer, but the Lions were otherwise unable to really get things together and break through.

  • DH Chieh-Hsien Chen (#24): 2-5, 2 K
  • 2B Ching-Kai Lin (#64): 1-5, R, K
  • RF An-Ko Lin (#77): 2-4, 2 R, HR (6), 2 RBI, BB, 2 K
  • LF Chih-Chieh Su (#32): 2-5, R, RBI, 2 K
  • 3B-1B Fu-Lin Kuo (#5): 1-3, BB, K
  • 1B Kuo-Ching Kao (#68): 0-3
  • PH-3B Yung-Chi Chen (#13): 0-1, K
  • CF Chao-Ting Tang (#6): 2-3, R, RBI, BB
  • SS Tzu-Chieh Lin (#39): 1-2, K, E (1)
  • SS Yi-Hsuan Tsai (#38): 1-1, BB
  • C Yu-Le Lin (#31): 0-2, K
  • PH-C Chung-Yu Chen (#65): 0-1, RBI, K
  • RHP Donn Roach (#50): 4.0 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, L (1-3)
  • RHP Yu-Ching Lin (#10): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Yu-Kang Fu (#42): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Hsuan-Ta Liu (#23): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Chun-Yen Huang (#40): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

May 06 (7-11)

CTBC Brothers 18, Uni-President Lions 8 (BOX)

This one was a slugfest for both teams, highlighting the lack of quality pitching in the league. The Brothers put up a six-spot twice, first in the second inning and then again in the fourth. The Lions scored multiple runs in multiple innings, powered partially by a two-homer performance from Fu-Lin Kuo, but the bullpen was just as leaky as starter Wei-Lun Pan was and the Brothers won decisively.

  • DH Chieh-Hsien Chen (#24): 3-5, R, RBI
  • RF An-Ko Lin (#77): 1-4, R, K
  • 3B Yung-Chi Chen (#13): 0-3
  • 1B Kuo-Ching Kao (#68): 1-2, RBI
  • LF Chih-Chieh Su (#32): 1-2, R, BB
  • PH-CF Liang-Wei Chiang (#27): 0-2, 2 K
  • 1B-3B Fu-Lin Kuo (#5): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR (5, 6), 3 RBI
  • C Chung-Yu Chen (#65): 1-3, R
  • C Yu-Le Lin (#31): 2-2, R
  • CF-LF Kai-Wen Cheng (#28): 2-5, R
  • SS-2B Yi-Hsuan Tsai (#38): 0-3, K
  • 2B Ching-Kai Lin (#64): 0-2, K
  • PH-SS Tzu-Chieh Lin (#39): 1-1, R, 2 RBI, BB
  • RHP Wei-Lun Pan (#18): 2.0 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, HR, L (1-2)
  • RHP Hsuan-Ta Liu (#23): 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, HR
  • LHP Hang Lin (#48): 1.0 IP, 4H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Yu-Kang Fu (#42): 1.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Yu-Ching Lin (#10): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Chun-Jen Cheng (#60): 1.0 IP, 4H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Yun-Wen Chen (#12): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

May 07 (7-11)

NO GAME (SCHEDULE)

May 08 (7-12)

Fubon Guardians 7, Uni-President Lions 6 (BOX)

The Lions’ skid continued, and that makes five losses in a row now- though this one was much closer than any of their other losses this week. Knuckleballer Ryan Feierabend was solid, giving up just a single run in his five innings on the mound, a solo shot off the bat of Fubon Guardians third baseman Chih-Hsien Chiang- who many might remember was traded at the 2011 trade deadline to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Erik Bedard in a big three-team deal. The Lions had the lead until Feierabend was replaced by manager Yueh-ping Lin took him out of the ballgame in the sixth. The bullpen gave up four runs, giving Fubon the lead, and then allowed another two in the seventh. Those two runs would end up being much needed insurance as the Lions were able to put up a four spot of their own in the eighth, powered by a pinch-hit three-run homer by Yung-Chi Chen.

  • DH Chieh-Hsien Chen (#24): 1-3, R, 2 BB
  • 3B-1B Fu-Lin Kuo (#5): 1-5, R, RBI, K, E (1)
  • RF An-Ko Lin (#77): 3-4, R, RBI
  • LF Chih-Chieh Su (#32): 1-4, R, K
  • 1B Kuo-Ching Kao (#68): 0-2, BB
  • PH-CF Chao-Ting Tang (#6): 0-0, R, BB
  • C Chung-Yu Chen (#65): 1-3, RBI, SB (7)
  • 2B Ching-Kai Lin (#64): 0-3, 3 K
  • PH-3B Yung-Chi Chen (#13): 1-1, R, HR (3), 3 RBI
  • CF Kai-Wen Cheng (#28): 0-4, 4 K
  • 2B Yi-Hsuan Tsai (#38): 0-0
  • SS Tzu-Chieh Lin (#39): 0-4
  • LHP Ryan Feierabend (#54): 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, HR
  • RHP Yu-Ching Lin (#10): 0.1 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, L (0-1)
  • LHP Hang Lin (#48): 0.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Chun-Yen Huang (#40): 1.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, E (1)
  • RHP Hsuan-Ta Liu (#23): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

May 09 (7-13)

Fubon Guardians 7, Uni-President Lions 4 (BOX)

Josh Roenicke didn’t pitch particularly well in his first start outing earlier this week, and he didn’t particularly improve in his second, allowing seven runs over five innings. Guardians starter Kuo-Hao Chiang, on the other hand, was excellent, following up his six-inning shutout last time he pitched against the Lions with an eight-inning, two-run effort. The Lions fought back in the ninth, scoring two runs and knocking reliever Yi-Hao Lin out of the game without ever recording an out, but Hung-Wen Chen righted the sinking ship, earning his fourth save of the season. That makes six losses in a row now.

  • DH Chieh-Hsien Chen (#24): 0-3, BB
  • 1B Fu-Lin Kuo (#5): 3-4, R, SB (2)
  • RF An-Ko Lin (#77): 1-3, R, BB, K
  • LF Chih-Chieh Su (#32): 1-4
  • 3B Yung-Chi Chen (#5): 1-3, RBI
  • CF Chao-Ting Tang (#6): 0-3, RBI
  • SS Tzu-Chieh Lin (#39): 1-3, R
  • PH Chung-Yu Chen (#65): 0-1, K
  • C Yu-Le Lin (#31): 1-2, R, HR (1), RBI, K
  • C Chun-Wei Kuo (#15): 0-1
  • 2B Ching-Kai Lin (#64): 0-2, K
  • PH Chih-Cheng Chiu (#14): 0-1, K
  • 2B Yi-Hsuan Tsai (#38): 0-0
  • RHP Josh Roenicke (#30): 5.0 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, L (0-1)
  • RHP Yu-Kang Fu (#42): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Chun-Jen Cheng (#60): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Yun-Wen Chen (#10): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

HITTER OF THE WEEK

Fu-Lin Kuo

10-22, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 1/1 SB

Signed as an international free agent by the Yankees in January 2010 out of Nan-Ying High School in Tainan, Taiwan for $150,000, Kuo spent a few years in their developmental system, playing for their GCL Team, the Staten Island Yankees, the Charleston RiverDogs, and the Tampa Yankees. He was released in 2013 after hitting a cumulative .232/.321/.328 in 167 games over those four levels and returned home, getting drafted by the Lions in the seventh round of the 2015 draft. He struggled in 2015 and 2016, his first two years playing there, but seemed to find his footing in 2017, hitting .296/.352/.536 with 11 home runs in 60 games. The third baseman broke out in 2018, hitting .284/.349/.496 with 19 home runs in 115 games, but took major steps back in 2019, hitting just .184/.252/.332 with 5 home runs in 62 games. Research indicates that changes to his swing led to him being much less effective anytime he did not pull the ball. While he has always demonstrated fairly stark platoon splits, he has been much more effective this season in hitting the ball to other fields with authority.

PITCHER OF THE WEEK

Ryan Feierabend

5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, HR

Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the third round- 86th overall- of the 2003 MLB Draft out of Midview High School in Grafton, Ohio, Ryan Feierabend developed into one of their best pitching prospects, quickly rising up the minor league ladder. He made his major league debut in September 2006 and spent the next few years bouncing up and down from the minors to the majors and back again multiple times, generally pitching poorly in the majors. He missed the entire 2009 season due to an elbow injury and was generally ineffective in the minors when he returned in 2010. He was released after that year and spent the next few seasons bouncing around organizations, pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies, the York Revolution of the Atlantic League, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Texas Rangers. In 2014, after his stint with the Rangers, he signed a one-year contract to play with the Nexen Heroes in Korea, where he posted a 4.67 ERA in 177.1 innings. He returned for the 2015 season but was cut halfway through the season and was picked up by the KT Wiz, where he learned how to throw the knuckler and transitioned into being a full-time knuckleball pitcher. He was effective with the Wiz, posting a 3.67 ERA over 323.1 innings and was able to parlay his performance there into a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. He made only a single appearance for the major league club, spending the majority of the season in Triple-A Buffalo, but his one start was Toronto’s only complete game in 2019. A free agent after the season ended, he signed with the Uni-President Lions and is currently the only knuckleball pitcher in the league, the last being Mickey Callaway, who pitched for the Lions in 2009.