Tag Archive | "Chinese Taipei"

World Port Tournament Opens with Wins from Cuba and Netherlands


As Prague Baseball Week and the Swiss Alpine Cup were winding down, another big tournament was just kicking off over in Rotterdam, Netherlands – the World Port Tournament.

This  year the WPT features just four teams, but they are some of the strongest in the world including the #1 ranked team from Cuba. Also playing are Chinese Taipei, Curacao and the host Netherlands.

Even before the tournament kicked off it was drawing attention from the world of baseball as a Cuban pitcher, Odrisamer Despaigne, defected on the flight to the Netherlands as the team make a stopover in Paris. This is the third straight time a Cuban player has defected at the WPT, which is played every two years.

The 2013 edition of the WPT kicked off with Cuba facing off with Curacao with Cuba starting off with a 3-0 victory. Cuban starter Ismel Jimenez pitched great tossing eight shutout innings. He gave up just six hits, walked one, and struck out ten to pick up the win. Rasiel Iglesias came in to pick up the save with a scoreless ninth.

Andy Ibanez had a great day at the plate for Cuba. He went 3-for-4 scoring twice. Yulieski Gourriel knocked in a run and scored once going 2-for-3 with a triple.

Raydell Isabella pitched well for Curacao tossing a complete game. He gave up just three runs (one run) on seven hits.

Game 2 saw the host Netherlands take on the defending champion Chinese Taipei.

Chinese Taipei jumped out in the third inning with a pair of runs to take an early lead. But that was it. The Netherlands came back in the fourth to take the lead and they would add on for a 7-2 win.

Diegomar Markwell picked up the win for the Dutch tossing seven innings giving up just two runs on eight hits.

Markwell got offensive support from a few sources. Lead off hitter Roeland Henrique may have went hitless, but he did his job by getting on base with three walks. Stijn van der Meer followed him up in the line up by picking up a pair of hits going 2-for-5. Hitting third was Danny Rombley who also went 2-for-5 scoring a pair of runs.

All three of these hitters set the table for the cleanup man, Bryan Englehardt who came through. Englehardt went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, two RBI, and two runs scored.

Lin Wang-wei had a nice day at the plate for Chinese Taipei. The left fielder went 3-for-4 with a double and a RBI. Hsieh Jung-hao took the loss lasting just four innings while allowing three runs on six hits.

2013 World Port Tournament Schedule:

Monday July 1
14:00 Chinese Taipei vs Curacao
19:30 Cuba vs Netherlands

Tuesday July 2
19:30 Curacao vs Netherlands

Wednesday July 3
14:00 Curacao vs Chinese Taipei
19:30 Netherlands vs Cuba

Thursday July 4
19:30 Cuba vs Chinese Taipei

Friday July 5
14:00 Chinese Taipei vs Cuba
19:30 Netherlands vs Curacao

Saturday July 6
14:00 Curacao vs Cuba
19:30 Chinese Taipei vs Netherlands

Sunday July 7
14:00 Championship Game

2013 World Port Tournament Standings

1. Netherlands 1-0
1. Cuba 1-0
3. Chinese Taipei 0-1
3. Curacao 0-1

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Manny Ramirez Leaves the EDA Rhinos


Manny Ramirez is leaving Taiwan.

Ramirez was playing for the EDA Rhinos of the Chinese Professional Baseball League or CPBL, but he has been taken off the active roster. He is leaving the country today, and the word is the reasson why he is leaving is because he misses his family.

The Rhinos had upped Manny’s monthly salary to $60,000 and were reportedly letting he and an uncle stay in the presidential suite of the Crown Hotel in Kaohsiung. But family has trumped his desire to stay in Taiwan. His contract ran only through the end of June, but he told the team he wished to leave a little early.

But he hasn’t retired.

So far there is no new contract for Manny. Not in Japan or the USA. He would love to get back to the MLB, but the jump in caliber of play from the CPBL to MLB is quite big.

So the Manny experiment in Taiwan is over. How did he do? He did pretty good for the CPBL.

Ramirez hit .352 in 49 games which ranked him third in the league. His 8 home runs were second in the league. The Rhinos are tied for first place right now as Manny leaves, and it remains to be scene how his absence in the middle of that lineup will effect their play.

Manny Ramirez’s CPBL Stats:

G PA RBI R H 2B 3B HR BB SO OBP AVG SLG
49 206 43 24 64 13 0 8 23 21 0.422 0.352 0.555

 

It remains to be seen if a MLB team will take a chance on Manny or if he is done for good. What do you think? Do you want your favorite team to take a chance with Manny Ramirez?

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Groups Set for IBAF 18U Baseball World Cup in Taichung


Ten of the twelve teams from the 2012 IBAF 18U Baseball World Cup are back for this year’s edition. Defending champion USA will be back as will runner-up Canada in what looks to be an even stronger field this year. The event will take place in Taichung, Chinese Taipei from August 30 to September 8.

The two teams that will not make the return trip to Asia are the Netherlands and Panama. Replacing them will be Cuba and Mexico.

  • Pool A: Canada (2), Chinese Taipei (3), Japan (6), Venezuela (8), Czech Republic (12), Mexico (invited)
  • Pool B: USA (1), Colombia (4), Korea (5), Australia (9), Italy (10), Cuba (invited)

(Numbers next to countries are their standings from the 2012 18U Baseball World Cup in Seoul)

The addition of Cuba makes the tournament even more competitive this year. The island nation has won 11 of the 25 tournaments and has placed in the top three 17 times.

Intercontinental Stadium in Taichung will be the main stadium for the tournament. It has hosted many international events including the 2013 World Baseball Classic earlier this year.

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Manny Ramirez Homers, But Does He Touch Home?


Manny Ramirez is no longer playing in the big leagues. Instead he is overseas in Tawian suiting up for the EDA Rhinos, and on Tuesday night he gave the Rhinos a win with an extra inning home run.

What stood out about this home run were a few things. First of all, it took Manny 30 seconds to round the bases. Then when he finally makes it home after his triumphant trot, it looks like he misses home plate (watch at 1:27 and tell me what you think).

Next, it was the announcer. He was going crazy, just like everyone else in attendance, but this time he had been working on his English a bit. As Manny trotted around the base paths, the announcer used up what might be all the English he knows.

Anyway, the video is below. Watch it and enjoy.

By the way, he is tied for the league lead in home runs.

Manny’s Stats:

G PA RBI R H 2B 3B HR TB DP SF SB BB SO SB CS AVG SLG
15 63 13 9 19 3 0 3 31 3 0 0 4 8 0 0 0.322 0.525

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Manny Ramirez Makes His Debut in Taiwan with the EDA Rhinos


Back in January we told out that the Sinon Bulls were no more. Instead a company called E-United Group bought the franchise, renamed it the EDA Rhinos, and moved the club to Kaohsiung.

But that wasn’t the biggest splash the Rhinos have made so far. About a month ago, we reported that the Rhinos have signed Manny RamirezOn Wednesday night in Taiwan, Manny got his first action in the Chinese Professional Baseball League as a member of the EDA Rhinos.

Ramirez batted clean-up and went 2-for-6 in a 9-8, 12-inning loss to the Brother Elephants. But in the end the score wasn’t what really mattered.

The team set the attendance record with 20,000 fans showing up. I am not sure if this was just for this stadium or for the CPBL, but the former record was in 2004 with 18,342.

Manny’s two hits were both singles, but they differed greatly. In his second at-bat in the bottom of the second inning, Manny lined a breaking ball over the third baseman into left field for a single. That was his first hit for the Rhinos and after the play the ball was taken out of play.

Manny came back up in the bottom of the fourth inning with two outs and nobody on. This time he took a fastball the other way lining a single to right field. Video of both hits are below.

In his other at-bats Manny struck out, flew out to left field, and grounded out twice.

But it didn’t matter. Fans were out in force to support the biggest player ever to hit the island and play in the CPBL. Signs were made, fake dreads were worn, and there was even a case of mistaken identity by one fan who had a picture of Johnny Cueto and his dreads on a poster.

Manny  Ramirez Taiwan EDA Rhinos

 

EDA Rhinos Manny  Ramirez Taiwan

This is a big step for the CPBL. It is a small league of only four teams, but it is highly competitive often including former MLB players on the teams. Taiwan is also having a sort of reinvention of baseball on the island.

The island just hosted the first round of the World Baseball Classic where it saw its hometown team Chinese Taipei advance to the second round. It also saw the biggest crowd for a baseball game in its history when 23,431 fans showed up to watch Korea take on Chinese Taipei.

The league has had its share of hard times and scandals, but now it is on the international stage with a huge star like Manny Ramirez playing. I know they want to show pride in their team and country and put on a good display of baseball, which I think they will. No matter what happens with Manny we know it’s going to be an interesting ride.

Manny’s first hit.

Manny’s second hit.

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Chinese Taipei: CPBL Season Kicks off with a Lamigo Monkeys Win


After a nice run in the World Baseball Classic by the Chinese Taipei team, the Chinese Professional Baseball League kicked off on Saturday with a rematch of the 2012 championship series.

In front of nearly 18,000 fans, the Lamigo Monkeys held off a late comeback by the Uni-President Lions 10-8 at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium. The hitters dominated the the pitchers from the get go.

The Lions jumped out in the first inning with a run, but the lead didn’t last long. The Monkeys came back in the bottom of the second with an RBI double from Yu The-long and a RBI single fromTsan Chih-yao. Both came off Lions starter Pan Wei-luen.

Chen Guan-ren singled to lead off the third for Lamigo and came around to score on a Lin Chih-sheng RBI double giving the Monkeys a 3-1 lead. But as the early see-saw battle went, the Lions came back with a run of its own to cut the lead to 3-2.

The primates struck again in the bottom of the fifth. This time it was off the bat of Lin Hong-yu who hit a two-run home run off of Lion’s starter Pan.

The story of the game seemed to be the repeated Lions comebacks. However, after leading 1-0 they were never able to take the lead again. And in the top of the seventh they staged another rally.

A Chen Yung-chi triple cut the lead to one as the Lions scored twice in the top of the seventh. But just as the Lions would pull to within striking distance, the Monkeys would score again.

This time it was off the bat of Chen Chin-fong who blasted a two-run home run off of Lions reliever Lee Fong-hua pushing the lead to three. Three more runs in the bottom of the eighth put the game out of reach and the Monkeys’ lead to 10-4.

The Lions once again tried to make a comeback, but as they did all game long fell short again. Monkeys’ closer Hsu Ming-jeh gave up four runs before giving way to rookie reliever Tseng-Tsong-hsuan. Tseng came in and struck out two of the three hitters he faced to end the rally and the game.

Monkeys starter, and former Long Island Duck, Mike Loree picked up the win tossing 6.1 innings giving up four runs on eight hits. Loree spend the 2012 season with Long Island after spending a few years in the San Francisco Giants minor league system.

Pan Wei-luen took the loss for the Lions giving up five runs in five innings.

CPBL Standings:

1. Lamigo Monkeys 1-0

2. Brother Elephants 0-0

3. EDA Rhinos 0-0

4. Uni-President Lions 0-1

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WBC: Cuba Crushes Chinese Taipei


Cuba Overpowers Chinese Taipei, 14-0

By Gabriel Fidler (@gabrielfidler)

Cuba used a prodigious display of power to eliminate Chinese Taipei from the second round of the World Baseball Classic, 14-0. The mercy rule victory featured four home runs and two doubles among 12 hits, and Cuba is one win away from punching their ticket to the semifinals in San Francisco.

Overshadowed in the hitting clinic was the dominance of Danny Betancourt, who threw six shutout innings. The right-hander scattered three hits and two walks, but retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced. Betancourt sent three down on strikes.

Frederich Cepeda got Cuba started on the right foot. After a José Fernández single in the first, Cepeda blasted a two-run homer to right centre. Chinese Taipei’s starter, Ching-Lung Lo, would keep the deficit at two through three innings.

Chinese Taipei had its chances in the early innings. Their best chance to score in the game came in the second. Betancourt struggled to find the zone in the first two frames, and Yung-Chi Chen and Chih-Kang Kao both singled in the second.  Chinese Taipei was unable to capitalise, and Betancourt did not let them get another runner to second.

With Betancourt keeping the momentum in Cuba’s favour, a four-run fourth ended Chinese Taipei’s chances of a comeback against the No. 1 team in the world. Cepeda walked to start off the inning and went to third on a bunt hit by slugger José Abreu. Abreu moved to second after the  Chinese Taipei reliever threw the bunt wildly.

Alfredo Despaigne seized the opportunity to drive in a run with a single to centre before Yasmany Tomás unloaded the bases on three-run homer to right centre. The next two batters would reach as well, but Cuba settled for four runs after putting the first six men aboard.

Yu-Chin Lin looked like he might keep the game close, coming in after the Tomás longball and getting Cepeda, Abreu, and Despaigne 1-2-3 in the fifth. After a strikeout to Tomás to begin the sixth, however, the wheels fell off for Lin and Chinese Taipei.

Frank Morejon and Bárbaro Arruebarruena followed with singles into the left field corner, both of whom were robbed of extra bases by Dai-Kang Yang’s strong throws. After a hit batter, Yuliesky Gourriel stroked a single to centre, scoring one and ending Lin’s night.

Fernández continued his red-hot approach at the plate with a bases-clearing double into the right field corner, and it was 10-0 Cuba. A double by Cepeda would add on another run, but Cuba was still flexing its muscles.

Abreu clouted a tape measure shot to dead centre to score Cepeda. The blast travelled well over 400 feet, nearly scraping the ceiling in the Tokyo Dome. Despaigne attempted to equal the feat a batter later, crushing a four-bagger to left-centre that travelled almost as far.

After putting eight straight men on base and scoring all of them, Cuba finally relented, with 18-year old reliever Jen-Ho Tseng getting two quick outs to end the shellacking. It was the fifth pitcher of the day for  Chinese Taipei. Had another run scored, the game would have ended on another version of the mercy rule.

Norberto González and Raicel Iglesías disposed of a deflated  Chinese Taipei side in the seventh. Chen had his second hit in the game, which was their first safety since the second inning. Chinese Taipei had only six baserunners in the contest.

Cuba, meanwhile, went 12-for-29 as a team. They left only three runners on base, hitting .667 with runners in scoring position. Fernández, Cepeda, Abreu, and Despaigne all had a brace of hits. Cepeda scored three and drove in as many, tying Fernández for the team lead in RBI.

Betancourt earned his second win of the WBC and has now thrown 10 2/3 scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts and a 0.60 WHIP. González has hurled four scoreless frames in relief.

After earning the win, Cuba will await their next matchup, which will take place on Mar. 11 at 11 a.m. GMT. They will face the loser of the Netherlands and Japan on Mar. 10 and the winner of the game will earn a guaranteed place in the semifinals.

Chinese Taipei could not recover from its heart-breaking loss to Japan the night before and finishes its best-ever performance in the WBC with a 5-3 record. They are now 6-7 in three World Baseball Classics, but have earned a spot in the 2017 tournament after having to qualify this time around.

Stay tuned for all your WBC news and analysis.

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WBC: Japan Defeats Chinese Taipei in 10 Inning Thriller


Persistent Japan Rallies By Chinese Taipei in 10, 4-3

By Gabriel Fidler (@gabrielfidler)

Third-ranked Japan avoided an embarrassing upset with three late rallies, beaten a heartbroken Chinese Taipei side in 10 innings, 4-3. Chinese Taipei led the ballgame until the eighth innings and did not trail until the final frame, but could not piece together enough offence in the World Baseball Classic thriller.

Both teams threatened in the first two frames, but Chinese Taipei claimed the early advantage with a run in the third inning. Yen-Wen Kuo jumpstarted the offence with a double to centre off Atsushi Nomi and was sacrificed to third.

Nomi then walked a batter and hit another to load the bases, and surrendered a free pass to Szu-Chih Chou to drive in Kuo. Nomi’s night was finished after 2 2/3. He gave up three hits and a pair of walks, striking out two.

Meanwhile, Chien-Ming Wang looked his vintage self against third-ranked Japan. Using a devastating sinker and some inspired defence, he worked around hits through six scoreless frames. Only one hit went for extra bases, a double into the corner in right by Yoshio Itoi in the fourth.

Chinese Taipei put another run on the board in the fifth. Che-Hsuan Lin ripped a double down the right field line and Cheng-Ming Peng singled him home. With Japan scuffling, tt appeared the two-run advantage would be enough for Wang and the Chinese Taipei bullpen.

Masahiro Tanaka was the third pitcher out of the ‘pen for manager Koji Yamamoto. He looked the staff ace he was expected to be in the sixth and seventh frames, striking out four. He set all six batters down in those two innings, mixing an unhittable split-finger and mid-90s/low-150s fastball.

The Samurai would stun a coasting Chinese Taipei in the eighth with a tenacious rally. Hirokazu Ibata started the frame with one of his three hits and moved to third on a Seiichi Uchikawa bouncer into the right field gap. Shinnosuke Abe, Japan’s cleanup hitter, got his first hit of the Classic in a big way, driving in Ibata with a single.

Uchikawa was out on a poorly executed bunt by Itoi, but Hayato Sakamoto broke out of his 2-for-15 slump with a run-scoring single to tie the contest. Chinese Taipei got out of the inning, but were clearly stunned at the turn of events.

The shock wore off quickly for Peng and Chih-Sheng Lin. Peng laced a safety to right to lead off, and Lind drove him to third with a two-bagger against the suddenly floundering Tanaka. Chou drove in Peng to put Chinese Taipei up again, 3-2, and the squad looked to have regained their momentum as Tanaka exited.

A grounder by Chih-Kang Kao turned into a two-base fielder’s choice as Lin got hung up going home, but avoided the tag long enough to keep runners at second and third. With only one out, reliever Tetsuya Yamaguchi buckled down and induced a popout before giving way to Kazuhisa Makita, who would end the rally.

Chinese Taipei once again held the lead and had their closer, Hung-Wen Chen on the hill. Chen got the first out, but walked Takashi Toritani, who swiped second base. Ibata stepped up with two outs and delievered another hit, scoring Toritani from second. That was all for Japan, but Chinese Taipei once more needed a rally.

A single by Yi-Chuan Lin in the bottom of the ninth was a promising start, but Makita made an impressive dive in front of the mound to snare a blooped bunt, and Che-Hsuan Lin was forced to sacrifice with one out instead of none. Peng walked to put runners on the corners, but Makita struck out cleanup hitter Chih-Sheng Lin to send the game to extra innings.

Japan once more had its rally hats working. Ryoji Aikawa led off with a single and advanced to second on a walk. A sacrifice by Sakamoto put two runners in scoring position and Sho Nakata, who was 0-for-4, crushed a ball to the warning track in left. The ball was caught on the warning track, but the go-ahead run scored to give the home team, batting first against pool winners Chinese Taipei, the lead for the first time.

Toshiya Sugiuchi entered for the bottom of the tenth, and gave up back-to-back hits with one out, but induced a twin killing to deliver an improbable victory for the Samurai.

Japan scored their four runs on 13 hits, only Itoi’s going for extra bases. Ibata had three hits to lead the squad, while Uchikawa and Sakamoto each had a brace. Japan left 10 runners on base, but hit a respectable .286 with runners in scoring position and struck out only twice.

Chinese Taipei had 11 knocks shared among nine batters. Peng and Chien-Ming Chang were the only hitters with a pair of safeties. A big difference in the game was the 11 strikeouts rung up on Chinese Taipei hitters, who hit .200 with baserunners on second or third.

Makita earned the win thanks to his own sacrificial defending, staying in the game despite landing awkwardly. He was one of seven pitchers to toe the rubber, with Sugiuchi earning the save.

Chen took the loss by allowing two runs in 1 1/3, walking two and giving up two hits. Wang pitched well enough for the victory, but the bullpen gave up four runs in four innings in relief and registered only one strikeout.

The victory will give Japan a day of rest before taking on the seventh-ranked Netherlands, who upset top-rated Cuba earlier in the day. First pitch is at 11 a.m. GMT on Mar. 10. No. 5 Chinese Taipei will have to regroup in only a few hours before taking on the top-rated team in the world, with the loser going home. The showdown commences at 10 a.m. GMT on Mar. 9.

Stay tuned for WBC results, recaps, and analysis.

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WBC: Japan vs Chinese Taipei Pitching Match Up


Japan enters Round 2 of the 2013 World Baseball Classic seeking its third straight title. They advanced as the runner-up in Pool A after losing to Cuba 6-3. Chinese Taipei enters the next round off a loss to Korea. However, even with the loss they enter as the winner of Pool B. Chinese Taipei didn’t make it out of the first round in a very disappointing 2009. They both send very successful pitching into the game on Friday night in Tokyo.

Japan

Japan will start left-handed pitcher Atsushi Nohmi who was an All-Star in 2012 with the Hanshin Tigers. In 2012, he went 10-10 with a career-low 2.42 ERA, which ranked seventh in the Central League. He tied for the league lead in strikeouts as well with 172 in 182.0 innings.

Nohmi threw one inning in Round 1 against Brazil. He didn’t allow a hit and struck out one.

Chinese Taipei

Chinese Taipei will start their Game 1 starter and winner Chien-Ming Wang. The former MLB pitcher, who pitched for the Washington Nationals in 2012, tossed six scoreless innings allowing just four hits beating Australia 4-1.

In 2012, Wang went 4-6 in 15 games for Washington posting a 4.26 ERA. The former 19-game winner is a free agent this off season and looking to impress scouts enough to earn a contract for the 2013 season.

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WBC: Korea Wins but Eliminated


Korea Eliminated Despite Win Over Chinese Taipei

By Gabriel Fidler (@gabrielfidler)

With excitement befitting of the stakes at hand, Korea and Chinese Taipei battled for the right to advance to the second round of the World Baseball Classic.Fourth-ranked Korea used a dramatic eighth inning to earn a 3-2 victory, but it was the host, Chinese Taipei, who advanced via tiebreaker rules. It is fifth-rated Chinese Taipei’s first-ever second round appearance, while Korea, which has the most wins in WBC history, had never failed to advance.

Chinese Taipei, Korea, and the Netherlands all finished 2-1 in the pool, so a tiebreaker was necessary to determine the two teams that would move on to Tokyo. Using a complicated formula involving run differential, it was determined that Chinese Taipei was more deserving to join Cuba, Japan, and the Dutch in the second round.

Both teams threatened throughout the game, which featured only a single 1-2-3 inning per side. Each manager used his game liberally as the tension mounted throughout the game.

Chinese Taipei was the first to take advantage of their runners on base. Dai-Kang Yang led off the third with an infield single, though Korean starter Won-Jun Chang got the next two batters, including a bunting Che-Hsuan Lin, who plays for the Houston Astros. But with two outs, Chih-Sheng Lin, Chinese Taipei’s cleanup hitter, stroked a single to centre to plate Yang. Szu-Chih Chou followed with a single, but Chang struck out Yung-Chi Chen, hero of the 2006 WBC.

The hosts added another run an inning later. Yen-Wen Kuo ripped a two-out double into the right field corner. After Kyung-Eun Noh relieved, Yang stroked a single over the mound to plate Kuo and give Chinese Taipei a 2-0 advantage.

After loading the sacks and failing to score in the fourth, Korea came very close to finally putting a run on the scoreboard in the fifth. Keun-Woo Jeong reached on a fielding error with one out and, two batters later, cleanup hitter Dae-ho Lee, who hit .455 for the tournament, stepped up to the plate.

Lee launched a ball into the alley in right centre and Jeong raced around the bases, but Lin sent a good throw in from centre that was cut off by Kuo, who fired the ball to catcher Chih-kang Kao as Jeong reached the plate. Kao planted himself firmly over the plate as he caught the ball, and Jeong barrelled into him.

Chinese Taipei’s catcher held steady and Jeong was out, failing to even touch the plate. It was the second time Jeong was cut down on the basepaths, as in the first inning he tried to advance to third after stealing second with a wild throw and was out 8-5.

Korea’s second reliever, Hee-Soo Park, continued where he had left off in the fifth and retired Chinese Taipei 1-2-3 to give Korea a quick chance to threaten again. Ching-Lung Lo entered for Chinese Taipei, though, and got two strikeouts to continue the shutout for Chinese Taipei.

Neither team got a safety in the seventh and Chinese Taipei got nothing out of a hit in the eighth. In the bottom of the frame, Chinese Taipei’s manager, Chang-Heng Hsieh, sent in setup man Hong-ChihKuo to get the ball to his closer.

After failing to create much momentum on offence throughout the game despite 10 baserunners, Korea finally got firing on all cylinders. Kuo, a seven-year MLB veteran, gave up a ground rule double to Seung-Yeop Lee to lead off the frame. It was his third double in as many games. Lee moved to third on a passed ball and, with no outs, the Blue Bogy finally had a rally going.

Dae-Ho Lee drove his man home with a safety to left, but Kuo buckled down and got the next two outs. It appeared that the southpaw would get out of the inning with the 2-1 lead intact, but Jung-Ho Kang took Kuo deep to left field, with the four-bagger landing well over the wall.

Kuo struck out the final batter to ensure that Korea would not advance in spite of the win. Chinese Taipei’s arch-rivals had to win by at least five runs to advance, so the home run gave Korea nothing but a bit of pride after Seung-Hwan Oh got the last three outs for the save.

Chinese Taipei out-hit the blue-and-white 9-8, but left nine runners on base. They were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Yang was the only hitter from Chinese Taipei with two hits and only Chou also reached base twice.

Korea also stranded nine baserunners, though they had only three reach scoring position. Kang and Dae-Ho Lee both recorded a brace of hits. Jeong walked twice and had Korea’s only stolen base.

Four hurlers toed the rubber for the loser. Yao-Hsun Yang started and threw 2 2/3 frames, working around three baserunners. He struck out one. Ching-Ming Wang hurled 2 1/3 innings, going unscathed despite three hits and a walk with no strikeouts. Lo had the strongest outing, striking out two in two frames. Kuo was the final pitcher.

Korea’s manager Joong-Il Ryu went to the ‘pen more liberally, sending six pitchers to the mound. Chang tossed 3 2/3, allowing six of Chinese Taipei’s nine hits and both of their runs. He struck out a pair. Won-Sam Jang earned the victory in relief, throwing a scoreless eighth. Oh whiffed two in a perfect ninth.

Korea qualifies for the 2017 Classic, but will drop from the No. 4 position in the world rankings. Korea is now 14-5 in WBC history. By virtue of their defeat of the Netherlands, Chinese Taipei is the Pool B winner and will face No. 3 Japan, who finished second in Pool A. After going 1-4 in the two previous Classics, Chinese Taipei is 5-1 in all rounds of the 2013 edition.

The two sides will face off in the Tokyo Dome on Mar. 8 at 10 a.m. GMT. Chinese Taipei will be the home team. Stay tuned for news, reviews, and analysis of this year’s WBC.

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WBC: Chinese Taipei Takes Control of Pool B with Win Against the Netherlands


Chinese Taipei One-Hits the Netherlands to Move Atop Pool B

By Gabriel Fidler (@gabrielfidler)

Six Chinese Taipei pitchers combined on a one-hitter over the Netherlands in World Baseball Classic action, giving the hosts their second win in two attempts. The 8-3 victory all but assured that fifth-ranked Chinese Taipei will qualify for the second round of for the first time.

Dutch starter Tom Stuifbergen looked strong out of the gate, and the Netherlands appeared as if they would put the game out-of-reach in only the second inning. With one out in the frame, Chinese Taipei starter Yao-Ling Wang walked Andruw Jones, Xander Bogaerts, and Curt Smith to load the bases.

Faced with the potential of needing a win against Korea in game three, manager Chang-Heng Hsieh treated the contest as if it was an elimination game. Hsieh brought the early hook for Wang, who had a strong 2012 season in the Chicago Cubs’ system and earned a win in Chinese Taipei’s qualifying run.

Wei-Lun Pan was the first hurler out of the bullpen, and the right-hander plunked Kalian Sams with the first pitch, giving the Netherlands a 1-0 lead. Still needing two outs, Pan faced the number nine hitter, Dashenko Ricardo, who on Pan’s next pitch stroked a single up the middle. The safety scored two and put runners on the corners.

Pan bore down and got Atlanta Braves’ shortstop Andrelton Simmons on pop out deep in foul territory before bouncing out top Baltimore Orioles’ prospect Jonathan Schoop to end the rally.

Stuifbergen looked ready to rock to start the bottom of the second, nodding his head in unison with the chanting home crowd as he glared at the plate. His first batter was Cheng-Min Peng, who worked an eight-pitch single to left. Szu-Chih Chou followed with a walk and, two batters later, Chien-Ming Chang stroked a single through the hole at shortstop to plate Lin.

Stuifbergen would get the next two batters on his way to retiring five in-a-row, but the Orange failed to score in the third or fourth. The Netherlands’ hurler ran into trouble again when faced with the heart of the order, walking Lin to start the bottom of the fourth. Chou then ripped a double to put runners on first and third with no outs.

Yung-Chi Chen plated Lin with a single over second base and Chang was intentionally walked to load the bases. Dutch manager Hensley Meulens, who also coaches for the San Francisco Giants, left Stuifbergen in to face the No. 8 hitter, but his starter hit Hung-Yu Lin to score Chou, and the game was tied at three.

Meulens made the call to the bullpen, bringing in former Washington Nationals’ prospect Shairon Martis. Martis got three straight outs, but the first two were on fly balls to center, plating two more runs on the sacrifice flies. By the time Martis finally escaped the jam, the score was 5-3.

Pan, meanwhile, had settled in nicely. After a walk with two outs in the third, the Chinese Taipei hurler sent down 10 batters one after another, working through the sixth inning.

In the bottom of that frame, Chinese Taipei put the game out of reach. Yung-Chi Chen reached on a throwing error by Simmons and was sacrificed to second by Chang. The plan worked, as Hung-Yu Lin laced a ground-rule double to left center to plate Chen. Two batters later, Dai-Kang Yang made Simmons pay for his miscue with a two-out, two-run homer that landed just inside the right field foul pole.

The inning would end one batter later, but the host nation had run its lead to 8-3. Yang’s dinger was the second by Chinese Taipei in two games.

Jun-Ho Tseng, only 18 years old, and Ching-Ming Wang (no relation to Chien-Ming Wang) split the seventh, with Tseng earning his first-ever international strikeout, though he did walk two.

Jonatan Isenia took over for Martis with one out in the bottom of the seventh, ending the frame on a nice grab in foul territory by Bogaerts, who handled four chances cleanly in his second career appearance at the hot corner.

Former Los Angeles Dodger Hong-Chih Kuo pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Isenia wiggled out of a jam in the bottom of the inning to give the Netherlands one final chance to come back.

Hsieh took no chances with a five-run lead, bringing in his closer Hung-Wen Chen, who dialled up his fastball to finish off the game. Chen struck out the final two batters to ice the victory, pumping his fist with excitement after the last out.

Pan earned the victory with his 4 2/3 innings of stellar relief work. Chinese Taipei’s pitching staff walked seven, but struck out six and did not allow a hit after Ricardo’s single with one out in the second.

Stuifbergen, a Minnesota Twins’ minor leaguer, took the loss after lasting only three innings. He was charged with five runs on four hits and three walks, setting down one swinging. Martis tossed 3 1/3 frames, striking out a pair. All three runs charged to him were unearned and he was tabbed with a blown save. Isenia finished off the final five outs with three Ks.

Chang was the only hitter for Chinese Taipei with two safeties, reaching base three times to pace the club. Chen scored twice and drove in one, with Yang leading the squad with three RBIs.

The seventh-rated Dutch team will enter a crucial game with winless Australia on Mar. 5 at 4:30 a.m. GMT. Chinese Taipei will go for the Pool B sweep against arch-rivals Korea on Mar. 5 at 11:30 a.m. GMT. A win would ensure that Chinese Taipei would advance to the Tokyo Dome in the second round.

Stay tuned for more news, reviews, and analysis.

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WBC: Netherlands vs Chinese Taipei Pitching Match Up


Both the Netherlands and Chinese Taipei are coming off big wins in their opening matches of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Now with each team at 1-0, the winner of this match will be in the driver’s seat to advancing to the second round. So who will each team start?

Netherlands

Tom Stuifbergen gets the nod for the Dutch in this critical game. The right-handed pitcher played for the Amsterdam Pirates before being signed by the Minnesota Twins in 2006. He spent the majority of 2012 at Single-A Fort Myers, but did make one start for Triple-A Rochester where he pitched well.

He has a lot of international experience playing with the Dutch National Team since 2006. He pitched in the 2009 WBC and the 2009 and 2011 World Cups. In his lone WBC appearance, he tossed four shutout innings against the Dominican Republic to help the Netherlands advance to the second round.

Chinese Taipei

Starting for the host team will be Yao-Lin Wang who has pitched in the Chicago Cubs organization for the past three seasons. The 22 year-old pitched the 2012 season at full-season Single-A Peoria where he pitched in 37 games. He made nine starts going 4-5 with 12 saves.

Over his three year minor league career, he has averaged 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings. He has international experience pitching in the 2012 WBC Qualifier, where he picked up a win against New Zealand, and in the 2012 Asian Baseball Championship.

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WBC: Chinese Taipei Opens Tournament with Win Over Australia


Chinese Taipei Cruises to Opening Round Victory in WBC

By Gabriel Fidler (@gabrielfidler)

Chinese Taipei continued where it left off in the World Baseball Classic qualifying round, combining a persistent offence with stellar pitching to beat 10th-ranked Australia 4-1. Former New York Yankees’ superstar Chien-Ming Wang was dominant in the 2013 WBC opener, tossing six shutout innings for the victory in Taichung.

Chinese Taipei, rated fifth in the world, opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. Dai-Kang Yang, added to the roster before the tournament’s main draw, stroked a single to left to lead things off for Chinese Taipei. After a brilliant sacrifice bunt by Che-Hsuan Lin, Cheng-Min Peng stroked a single to right to plate the first run of the game.

Australia’s Chris Oxspring would settle down after Peng’s hit, catching Chih-Sheng Lin looking on strikes and inducing a grounder to get out of the frame.

Neither side would score in the second, but Chinese Taipei would strike for two more in the third. Che-Hsuan singled to start the rally, and Peng walked to put two runners on base. Chih-Sheng Lin followed by blasting a double down the left field line that bounced out for a ground rule double and score Lin. Szu-Chi Chou knocked in Chinese Taipei’s third run with a grounder to first.

Oxspring lasted 2 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits and a walk, whiffing one.

Chinese Taipei made the score 4-0 in the fifth, as Peng led off with a line drive home run just inside the right field foul pole.

Wang, meanwhile, needed only 61 pitches to retire Australia through six innings. The veteran right-hander allowed only four hits, using his trademark sinker to erase three on double plays. He walked none and struck out two. He left just before hitting the 65-pitch limit imposed on the first round of play.

Stefan Welch put Australia on the board in the seventh with a home run off the top of the fence in right center field off reliever Yao-Hsun Yang. The dinger ended a streak of 30 2/3 scoreless innings by Chinese Taipei pitchers in WBC play.

Both team’s bullpens took over in the late innings, with a leadoff double by Che-Hsuan Lin in the seventh the closest either could come to a rally.

Hung-Chih Kuo and Hung-Wen Chen finished the game off for Chinese Taipei, which was backed by a raucous crowd in Taichung’s Intercontinental Stadium. Chen looked particularly filthy, locating a mid-90s fastball and vicious curve to earn the save. He struck out one in the final frame.

Australian manager Jon Deeble used seven pitchers in the loss, all of whom will be available again in the opening round. Brendan Wise was the most effective, striking out one and allowing a pair of safeties in two innings.

Lin and Peng were the hit leaders with two, and Peng reached base in 3-of-4 plate appearances. Neither team committed an error.

The victory was Chinese Taipei’s second in six attempts in the Classic, while the Basebalroos dropped to 1-6. The hosts will take on the Netherlands on Mar. 3 at 6:30 a.m. GMT, while Australia next takes the field against Korea on Mar. 4 at 10:30 a.m. GMT.

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WBC: Australia vs Chinese Taipei Pitching Match Up


The first game of the 2013 World Baseball Classic is just moments away. The initial game pits Australia against host Chinese Taipei. So we thought we would look at the starting pitchers for each team quickly before the game begins.

Australia

Chris Oxspring will get the nod for Team Australia on the mound today. He is the oldest player on the Australian roster and has had a lot of international experience. He won a silver medal with in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. This is his second WBC, but he did not appear in a game in 2009.

Oxspring has some MLB experience as well, although not a lot. He was signed in 2001 by the San Diego Padres and made his Major League debut with them in September 2005. He appeared in five games, all in relief, pitching a total of 12 innings at the MLB level.

He is well traveled on the minor league circuit, and has pitched for the Sydney Blue Sox of the Australian Baseball League as well over the past few years having success everywhere he has pitched.

He is a veteran pitcher who will not be intimidated by any opponent in any park.

Chinese Taipei

Chinese Taipei will start their most experienced pitcher in Chien-Ming Wang. The right-handed sinker ball pitcher has had two seasons of 19 wins at the MLB level and has won 61 total MLB games.

He not only has the most Major League experience, but he has a lot of international experience as well pitching in the 2004 Olympics, 2003 Asian Baseball Championship, 2002 Asian Games, and the 1999 World Port Tournament.

He was signed out of college by the New York Yankees in 2000 and made his MLB debut in 2005. In 2012, Wang pitched with the Washington Nationals.

The two teams last faced each other in international competition in the 2009 World Cup in Italy splitting a pair of games.

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Taiwan: Manny Ramirez Signs with the EDA Rhinos


Manny Ramirez has agreed to terms with the EDA Rhinos of the Chinese Professional Baseball League for the upcoming season.

Enrique Rojas first reported the signing, and it appears Ramirez will be headed overseas unless he can sign on with a MLB team by March 7.

If not for his two suspensions for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, Ramirez would have been a shoe in for the Hall of Fame. One of the most feared right-handed hitters of his time, he has hit 555 MLB home runs and has a career batting average of .312.

This is the first season of the EDA Rhinos who bought the old Sinon Bulls franchise and are moving the team.

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IBAF Announces Dates for 18U Baseball World Cup in Taiwan


The IBAF announced the dates of the XXVI IBAF 18U Baseball World Cup to take place from August 30 to September 8, 2013. It was announced recently that the tournament will take place in Taichung, Taiwan.

In the 2012 edition of the tournament, the USA defeated Canada in the gold medal game in Seoul. That tournament featured several future professional players including highly touted pitcher Shoehi Otani from Japan. Many other players from the USA, Canada, and other countries are thought to be high round draft picks this summer during the MLB draft.

National teams are being asked to confirm their participation by March 11. Last year there were 12 teams competing including the USA, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Italy, Australia, Netherlands, Panama, Czech Republic, and Venezuela.

This year the tournament looks to be just as competitive.

Final Standings XXV IBAF 18U Baseball World Cup:

1) USA
2) Canada
3) Chinese Taipei
4) Colombia
5) Korea
6) Japan
7) Panama
8) Venezuela
9) Australia
10) Italy
11) Netherlands
12) Czech Republic

 

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2013 World Baseball Classic Preview – Chinese Taipei


Taiwan Ready to Avenge 2009 WBC Finish

By Gabriel Fidler (@gabrielfidler)
First in a series of 2013 World Baseball Classic previews

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – After winning one of four qualifiers, Chinese Taipei will host one of the four opening pools in the 2013 World Baseball Classic (WBC). No doubt gunning for their first-ever second round appearance at the WBC, Taiwan has added three MLB reinforcements to a roster that romped through the Classic Qualifiers and put in a strong showing at the Asian Baseball Championships.

The Taiwanese are, without question, fuelled by their disappointing showings in the 2006 and 2009 editions of the WBC. In the first Classic, they held their arch-rival Korea close, but were defeated 2-0. Japan’s top-level roster and home field advantage in the Tokyo Dome resulted in a 14-3 defeat, and Chinese Taipei exited after thumping lowly China 12-3.

Three years later, Korea started them off with a 9-0 loss and Taiwan had to face their closest neighbour, China. Despite an inexperienced roster and lack of depth, the red-and-yellow struck for the first three runs of the game and held on for a 4-1 win over Chinese Taipei. It was the first Chinese victory over Taiwan in history. It also eliminated their political rivals from the 2009 WBC.

In its bid for the Classic title, Chinese Taipei will host its third major international tournament in the last four months, having staged a Classic qualifying bracket in mid-November and the Asian Baseball Championships (ABCs) a fortnight later. Korea will once more travel to the island nation, and will be joined by Australia and the Netherlands. Unlike the three other countries, Taiwan will have seen plenty of recent game action.

In the Classic qualifying round (WBCQ), Chinese Taipei posted three consecutive shutouts in retiring New Zealand in the opener, 10-0, and thrashing the Philippines 16-0. The hosts then sent the Diamondblacks of New Zealand packing in the championship game, 9-0. The 35-0 outburst over three games was easily the most complete performance of any of the 16 teams attempting to qualify for the main WBC draw.

After breezing through the WBCQ, Taiwan claimed a silver medal at the Asian Championships with a 4-1 record, which included a 7-0 victory over Korea. They thrashed the Philippines once more, 12-1, while also notching a 3-1 win against China. Their only loss was a 2-1 decision to a Japanese side made up of amateur players.

During their eight tournament games, Taiwanese pitching yielded a 0.42 ERA, allowing only 28 hits in 65 innings and striking out 69. Its batters also put up strong performances, hitting .316 while demonstrating impressive plate discipline. The team collected 43 walks in eight games. The white-and-blue failed to homer in either tourney, though they did collect 20 doubles and five triples. Taiwanese runners also stole 10 bases.

Those performances saw them rise three places to the No. 5 ranking by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF). In the process, they jumped over the Netherlands, who dropped from fifth to seventh. Korea slipped one place to fourth, while the final member of the pool, Australia, went from No. 11 to tenth.

Despite fielding what is arguably one of, if not the best teams in its long baseball-playing history, Chinese Taipei has had mostly poor results in the last few years against the teams it will be hosting.

Korea and Taiwan have played 13 times in the last decade, with Chinese Taipei winning only five games.  Surprisingly, the two countries never played in the Baseball World Cup, despite appearing in all of the biennial Cups between 2003-2011, as they were always placed in different brackets. They have regularly squared off, however, in the Asian Baseball Championships and the Asian Games.

Their most recent meeting was in December, as Chinese Taipei earned a shutout victory en route to second place in the ABCs. In the 2010 Asian Games, Korea won both contests against the white-and-blue handily. The two sides split a pair of games in 2009, with Chinese Taipei avenging an earlier loss in the WBC by winning at the Asian Championships. In fact, Taiwan has seen almost all of its success against Korea in the ABCs, winning 4-of-5 games since 2003, while the Koreans have stifled them in the Asian Games (1-2), the Olympics (0-3, including the qualifying tournament) and the Classic (0-2).

Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands have, perhaps unexpectedly, developed quite a rivalry, if a lopsided one. The two countries have faced each other regularly in the World Cup and at Dutch tournaments. The Netherlands hosts two biennial events that alternate years, one being the Haarlem Baseball Week (HBW) and the other the World Port Tournament (WPT).

In the past 10 years, the Netherlands have defeated Taiwan 11 times, while only losing four times. Chinese Taipei last defeated the Dutch in the 2009 WPT, and has lost four-in-a-row since then, including their most recent matchup at the 2012 HBW. They have never played each other in the World Baseball Classic.

In the last six years, Taiwan has only contested Australia four times, winning three. In their last meeting in 2009, the Aussies were 7-5 winners, avenging Chinese Taipei’s 5-0 victory in the 2008 Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The decision eliminated Australia. Between 1971-1993, however, the two nations met biennially at the ABCs, and the all-time series is in Taiwan’s favour, 16-8 (with one tie).

Opposing teams will need to take into account the rabid passion that Taiwanese fans have for their national team. This fervour was in full display during the qualifying round, as Xinzhuang Stadium was packed for the home team’s games and the atmosphere quite raucous. Neither Australia nor the Netherlands has such a large ballpark as Taichung’s Intercontinental Stadium, which seats 19,000.

Taiwan is 39-21-2 all-time in 10 tournaments in which they serve as host, only twice failing to record in a medal. Incidentally, Korea has mixed success on Taiwanese soil, with a 35-33-1 mark in all tourneys, though they are 17-21 in global baseball events.

Manager Chang-Heng Hsieh is doubtless aware of his club’s struggles against the Netherlands and the long-standing rivalry with Korea. Hsieh has added three MLB players to an already experienced roster as Taiwan aims to advance to the second round of the Classic for the first time.

Chief among the roster additions is Chien-Ming Wang. Wang is 61-32 with a 4.26 ERA in a seven-year major league career, mostly with the New York Yankees. He has also won another 37 games in the minor leagues. In 2006 and 2007, he won 19 games, finishing second in the voting for the Cy Young Award in 2006.

Since mid-2008, Wang has struggled with injuries, first to his right foot, and later to both his hips and right shoulder. These led to his release by the Yankees after the 2009 season, after which he signed with the Washington Nationals. After missing the 2010 campaign, the right-hander has made only 21 appearances with a 4.94 ERA in the last two seasons.

When healthy, Wang can be dominant, as his sinker has helped him produce a career groundball percentage of 59.1 per cent, among the best in the major leagues during that span. He has also allowed a very strong rate of 0.6 home runs per nine innings.

Currently a free agent, Wang will be motivated to impress scouts in attendance, and Hsieh says he will be fully healthy for the first round. Wang has already been tabbed as the team’s ‘big game starter’, likely against Korea.

“There will be no problem for him pitching at full strength,” noted Hsieh. “[We have] given him time to prepare.”

Hong-Chih Kuo, another free agent who has spent significant time on the disabled list in recent years, has also been named to the squad. The southpaw has a 3.73 ERA in almost 300 innings with the Los Angeles Dodgers, striking out 10.6 batters per nine innings. He last pitched for his homeland in the 2006 WBC and Asian Games.

Between 2008-10, Kuo was one of the most dominant left-handed relievers in the game, recording a 1.96 ERA and gaudy strikeout totals while filling every role on the Dodgers’ pitching staff. Unfortunately, the southpaw had a fifth operation on his left elbow in 2011, also struggling with an anxiety disorder, and did not pitch last year.

The inclusion of Wang and Kuo is a coup for Hsieh. “I have been very eager for them to join our national team, because Taiwan needs their support,” he told the China Post. “Especially Kuo. We could use a good lefty reliever.”

Despite recruitment by Hsieh, Wei-Yin Chen, who had a standout rookie year for the Baltimore Orioles, will not appear in this year’s WBC. Chen’s wife gave birth recently and the lefty has stated he intends to spend the full offseason with his family. Chen is the only active major leaguer not donning the white-and-blue.

Chinese Taipei will still boast a strong pitching staff, with three other pitchers in consideration for starting nods. Yao-Ling Wang and Yu-Ching Lin saw action in the WBCQ and the ABCs, while Yao-Hsun Yang appeared twice in the former.

Wang appeared in three games, combining for a 2-1 record with a 0.77 ERA, striking out 12 in 11 2/3 innings. Only 22 years old, he mixes a curveball and changeup with a 92-94 mph fastball.  The right-hander toed the rubber for the Chicago Cubs’ Daytona affiliate this year, recording a 3.94 ERA, striking out 9.5 per nine innings, in line with his career average.

Lin saw time in three contests in Taiwan’s winter tournaments, posting 14 strikeouts in only 9 1/3 frames, giving up only four baserunners. Yang features a 96 mph fastball and good slider. He has a career 3.47 ERA for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, with even better numbers in the minors.

The bullpen will count on Kuo for high-leverage outs, likely as a setup man for Hung-Wen Cheng. Cheng pitched only 3 1/3 frames at the two tournaments, but struck out six, surrendering only one hit. The right-hander, still only 26, has thrown almost 500 minor league innings, mostly with Cubs’ affiliates, registering a 3.84 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.  Like many of the other pitchers for Chinese Taipei, his fastball sits around 94 to 95 mph (152 kmh).

Two other important pitchers are Kai-Wen Cheng and Jen-Ho Tseng. In four contests, two each in the WBCQ and the ABCs, Cheng whiffed 10 in 8 2/3 innings, allowing only five baserunners. Tseng, their youngest player at 18, tossed a combined seven shutout frames in the two tourneys. He whiffed six and gave up only four baserunners.

Hsieh has added one experienced member to the lineup in Che-Hsuan Lin. Lin played for Taiwan at the Junior World Championships in 2007 and at the 2008 Olympics. The centerfielder was also named to the Futures Games in 2008, hitting a two-run homer and a single to earn MVP honours. Lin was 3-for-7 with two walks in the 2009 Classic.

Lin made his major league debut in 2012 for the Boston Red Sox, who signed him in 2007. In nine games, he was 3-for-12, mostly showing off his defensive skills late in games. In December 2012, Lin was claimed off waivers by the Houston Astros after a minor league career in which he hit .256 in 627 games. He is best known for his speed (145 career stolen bases), plate discipline (.347 OBP) and defence (67 assists and good range).

Lin tuned up for the WBC with a 3-for-12 showing at the Asian Championships and is one of four starters from the ABCs who will likely remain in the lineup. The other three all saw action in the qualifiers, with Szu-Chi Chou the most consistent. Chou, the leftfielder, hit a combined .280 in the two tourneys, but slugged .520, drove in seven, and drew nine walks in eight games.

Chou will form the heart of the order with Chien-Ming Chang, Chih-Sheh Lin, and Yung-Chi Chen. Chang was 6-for-11 with two doubles and six RBI in the WBCQ and is a career .455 hitter in the Classic.

Chih-Sheh Lin was 5-for-11 and also collected a pair of two-baggers, driving in four and stealing two bases, raising his WBC career average to .316. He is a career .314/.383/.535 hitter in the CPBL.

Chen is a career .391 hitter with 11 RBI in WBC play, slugging .723 in the process. The right-handed hitter had a solid minor league career for the Seattle Mariners, hitting .287 with an OPS of .744 and 84 stolen bases while collecting time at second, short, and third.

The most experienced batter is Cheng-Ming Peng. In almost 1100 career China Professional Baseball League (CPBL, the national professional circuit) games, he is a .348/.452/.535 hitter with 151 homers and 179 stolen bases.  He has led the league in hitting five times, including a national record .391 in 2008.

Peng has failed to produce at a top level in WBC play, though, with an average of .286 with no extra-base hits. The Gold Glove first baseman has reached base at a .524 clip, though. Like most of the qualifier-winning lineup, Peng did not participate in the Asian Championships.

Taiwan will carry three superb catchers on the roster.  The likely starter is Chih-Kang Kao, a 12-year international veteran.  Kao is known as a strong defensive catcher in the CPBL, throwing out a whopping 38 per cent of runners.  He is a career .282 hitter in the CPBL and 3-for-10 in four WBC games.  He had a noticeable effect in slowing down New Zealand’s powerful running game.

Ta-Hong Cheng will likely see some playing time as well. He is a career .300 hitter in Taiwan’s league, but also one with surprising speed.  In November and December, he was only 3-for-16, though he did drive in four and steal a base. In 2010, Cheng set an international record when he became the first catcher among Taiwanese, Korean, Japanese, or American leagues to lead the circuit in steals.

Also donning the mask is Hong-Yu Lin, a .309/.359/.483 hitter in the CPBL. He has caught 27 per cent of runners stealing in his career. Lin was hitless in eight at bats in the WBCQ.

With only major addition to the hitting corps, Chinese Taipei’s lineup should remain almost identical to the Classic’s qualifying stage. Manager Hsieh will likely continue to use his bench liberally, with the three backstops likely to split time. His projected batting order follows:

Che-Hsuan Lin – CF
Chien-Ming Chang – RF
Cheng-Min Peng – 1B
Chih-Sheng Lin – SS
Szu-Chi Chou – LF
Yung-Chi Chen – 3B
Yi-Chuan Lin – DH
Yen-Wen Kuo – 2B
Chih-Kang Kao – C

Chinese Taipei will have the honour of playing the first game of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. The white-and-blue will host Australia at Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung on Mar. 2 at 4:30 a.m. GMT.

Taiwan will match up with the Netherlands on Mar. 3 at 6:30 a.m. GMT before finishing pool play in a showdown with Korea on Mar. 5 at 11:30 a.m. GMT.  The two teams with the best records will advance to the second round. This round is a modified double elimination bracket and will be hosted at the Tokyo Dome.

All games are televised on www.worldbaseballclassic.com.

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2013 18U Baseball World Classic to be Held in Taiwan


The IBAF has announced that the 2013 18U World Baseball Classic will take place in Taichung City, Taiwan.

The tournament has changed its name from the 2012 edition which it was named the 18U Baseball World Championships. In the 2013 edition of the tournament, the USA defeated Canada in the finals to claim the gold medal.

The 2013 tournament will take place later this year from late August through the first week of September. It will be held at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium. It will feature 14 teams, in 2012 there was 12.

Another feature will be that there will be no home plate collisions this year. In last years tournament, USA player Willie Abreu tried to run over Canadian catcher Christopher Saw. It was a big collision in which Abreu was thrown out of the game. Shaw did hold on to the ball for the out. You can see the play on the Baseball de World YouTube channel here. The play happens around the 2 minute mark.

Look for another great tournament in a baseball hotbed.

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IBAF Welcomes Curacao and Saipan as Members


The Executive Committee of the International Baseball Federation had its first meeting of 2013 in Cartagena in cooperation with the Colombian Baseball Federation. During the meeting the IBAF welcomed two new members in Curacao and Saipan.

Another key aspect to the meeting was to discuss the merger status with softball and review the constitution that will govern the new combined body, The World Baseball Softball Confederation.

A report on the merger and the combined bid for the 2020 Olympics was discussed.

Also on the agenda was the announcement of the host for the upcoming 18U Baseball World Cup. The event, to take place in late August and early September, will be held in Taichung (Taiwan). It was also announced that in the 14-team event that there will be no collisions at home plate.

In last years tournament, USA player Willie Abreu tried to run over Canadian catcher Christopher Saw. It was a big collision in which Abreu was thrown out of the game. Shaw did hold on to the ball for the out. You can see the play on the Baseball de World YouTube channel here. The play happens around the 2 minute mark.

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Netherlands: 2013 World Port Tournament Schedule Announced; Cuba to be Fourth Team


Cuba has been announced as the fourth team at the 2013 World Port Tournament.

Cuba will join Curacao, Chinese Taipei, and host Netherlands in the 2013 edition of the tournament. The tournament will be played in Rotterdam from June 30 to July 7.

The bi-annual tournament also released the schedule with Cuba and Curacao kicking it off on Sunday June 30.

2013 WPT Schedule:

Sunday June 30
2:00 pm – Cuba vs Curacao
7:30 pm – Netherlands vs Chinese Taipei

Monday July 1
2:00 pm – Chinese Taipei vs Curacao
7:30 pm – Cuba vs Netherlands

Tuesday July 2
7:30 pm – Curacao vs Netherlands

Wednesday July 3
2:00 pm – Curacao vs Chinese Taipei
7:30 pm – Netherlands vs Cuba

Thursday July 4
7:30 pm – Chinese Taipei vs Cuba

Friday July 5
2:00 pm – Chinese Taipei vs Cuba
7:30 pm – Netherlands vs Curacao

Saturday July 6
2:00 pm – Curacao vs Cuba
7:30 pm – Chinese Taipei vs Netherlands

Sunday July 7
2:00 pm Final

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Taiwan: Sinon Bulls are No More; New Team Named EDA Rhinos


The Sinon Bulls of the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) are no more.

Last month the E-United Group purchased the franchise from the Sinon Corporation for NT$130 million. The new club called EDA Rhinos (pronounced ‘ee-da’) will head south to the port city of Kaohsiung. The Bulls were located in Taichung City.

They will still schedule a portion of their games in Taichung, but their home stadium will now be Kaohsiung City’s Cheng Ching Lake Stadium.

The franchise has won 2 titles under the Bulls name in 2004 and 2005.

The Rhinos will be apart of the 4 team circuit joining the Brother Elephants, Lamigo Monkeys, and the Uni-President Lions.

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Cuba to Play CPBL Team in Exhibition in November


The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) announced that the Cuban national team will be making a trip to Taiwan to play a two game set in November.

The game will pit the current world #1 team in Cuba against the best that the CPBL has to offer.

Game 1 will be on November 12 at Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung. Game 2 will be the following day at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium in Taoyuan.

It is also rumored that Cuba is looking to add either Japan or South Korea or both to its Asia trip.

The series is being called the 2012 CPBL vs Cuba Games and will be fully sanctioned by the IBAF. This is just one of many events by international baseball committees in an effort to promote the game internationally in hopes that they will receive reinstatement at the Olympic Games.

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Taiwan: Winter League Might be Coming in 2012


TAIPEI, Taiwan – The head of the Chinese Professional Baseball League said Taiwan is set to host a professional winter league. He said it is possible Taiwan will host winter league games in central and southern part of the island.

Details on how teams will organize and and how many teams are not final yet.

The hope is to play 50 games and have teams from other countries as well.

Japan and South Korea have expressed sending players in the past to play winter ball. The league might seek players from North American clubs as well.

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Taiwan: Lamigo Monkeys off to Hot Start


The 2012 CPBL (Chinese Professional Baseball League) kicked off this past weekend all over Taiwan.

The opening series pitted the Brother Elephants against the Uni-President Lions while the Lamigo Monkeys took on the Sinon Bulls.

Uni-President Lions 3,  Brother Elephants 5
Uni-President Lions 6,  Brother Elephants 2
Uni-President Lions 3,  Brother Elephants 4 (10)

In front of a capacity crowed at Taipei City’s Tienmu Stadium, the Brother Elephants took down the Lions 5-3 to open the season. Rookie pitcher Lin Yu-Ching lasted 5 innings giving up only a single run to earn the victory. American Ryan Cullen picked up the save in relief.

The Lions bounced back in game 2 of the series winning by a score of 6-2 behind Japanese pitcher Kamada Yuya who went 6.2 scoreless innings giving up only 6 hits while striking out 8.

After taking Monday and Tuesday off, the two were back at it on Wednesday to finish off the series with the Elephants taking the series winning 4-3 in 10 innings. The Lions took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the 6th when the Elephants got a run to cut the lead in half. They tied it in the last half of the 8th pushing the game into extra frames.

In the 10th, the Lions started it off by scoring a run to take a 3-2 lead, but it wouldn’t last long. The Elephants came right back with 2 of their own in the 10th to take the game and the series 2-games-to-1.

Lamigo Monkeys 4, Sinon Bulls 2
Lamigo Monkeys 13, Sinon Bulls 3
Lamigo Monkeys 5, Sinon Bulls 0

The Lamigo Monkeys got off to a good start to the season sweeping a 3 game set with the Sinon Bulls. American Ken Ray picked up his first win of the season in game 1 pitching into the 6th allowing only 1 run. Second baseman  Kuo Yen-Wen blasted a 3-run home run that proved enough for the Monkeys to take the win on opening day.

The Monkeys’ bats really woke up in game 2 blasting the Bulls pitching for 13 runs. Lamigo scored 2 in the first and that was just the beginning. They added 4 more in the 3rd and another pair of runs in the 4th to jump out to an early 8-0 lead after just 4 innings.

American hurler Lenny DiNardo picked up the win in game 2 pitching 6 scoreless innings while striking out 3.  DiNardo has pitched in parts of 6 seasons in the Major Leagues and also pitched for Italy in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

The Uni-President Lions, the 2011 Champion, look to get back on track this weekend against the winless Sinon Bulls while the Monkeys look to stay unbeaten against the Brother Elephants.

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