Friday, March 31, 2006

SI showin' our boys some love...

Well, I got my SI yesterday in the mail and whaddya know? The '06 Baseball Preview issue (4/3/06) had a couple of pieces on 2 of Taiwan's finest. See above.

Wang was selected by SI as one of the "20 people to watch for in 2006." Great compliment by SI. This is a good issue to own!

Wang named #3 starter.....

for the Yanks by Manager Joe Torre. Wang will be slotted behind the "Big Unit" and the "Moose."
As for Friday's game, Wang had an ok performance, going 4 innings, giving up 3 earned runs on 7 hits.

In the NPB, the Hanshin Tigers officially got their season underway on Friday. Lin got a pinch hit at bat in the 9th inning and grounded out.

Kuo pitched against the Angels today and gave up his first earned run of the spring. Tim Salmon hit a solo shot off Kuo. Kuo pitched 1 inning with no K's. The streak had to end some time.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The joke's on Hu?

Check out this funny actual conversation between Kuo and his teammate Kenny Lofton. I didn't know that Hu was still in Vero. Hopefully he doesn't have to start this season in A ball again.

Wang is scheduled to pitch Friday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Hopefully he feels no ill effects from the contusion he received on Sunday.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Kuo can do no wrong....

Kuo pitched a 1-2-3 5th inning against the Washington Nationals today. After getting the leadoff hitter to ground out, Kuo picked up 2 more K's against Damian Jackson and Nick Johnson. If Kuo pitches like this in the regular season, I can't see why he wouldn't be a top candidate for NL ROY.

In Japan, W.C. Lin made the Tigers ball club. Although he won't be a regular in the starting lineup, he at least joins Y.C. Lin of the Eagles as a bonafide NPB player. If C.C. Chang can regain some of his lost velocity, he would be a valuable contributor for his Lions team.

The Yang brothers and W.Y. Chen will all begin the season on their respective NPB farm teams.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Kuo: Top Dawg!

The Dodgers named Kuo the top rookie in camp this spring, by awarding him the Mulvey Award.
Kuo's performance (0.00 ERA in 10 IP, with 12 K's) was quite impressive, considering the fact that he had a disappointing showing in the WBC. All in all, the preparation and participation in the WBC probably helped Kuo bring it all together in time for spring training.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Kuo makes Opening Day Roster?

The official website of the Dodgers has reported that the team has cut several bullpen candidates.
Kuo was NOT one of them. Yea!!!! 2 of Kuo's primary competitors: left handed relievers Kelly Wunsch and Tim Hamulack were either reassigned or optioned to AAA. Kuo is almost a lock to make the team, as he is the only LHP among his penmates.

Should Kuo make the team, he would join Wang of the Yanks as a ML regular. If Tsao can make a full recovery, then we might see all 3 in the Majors come June/July. Can't wait!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sunday Roundup and Red Sox Signings Updates....

The news out of Taiwan is confirming that the Boston Red Sox have signed 2 high school kids. In a follow up to an older post, the Sox signed two infielders: Chih-Hsien Chiang and Chih-Hsiang Huang. Earlier speculation had the Red Sox signing a HS pitcher: Wang-Yi Lin. Not too sure which signing (Huang or Lin) is correct, but the Chih-Hsien Chiang signing is confirmed. Chiang received a $375,000 signing bonus, while his high school teammate Huang received a $100,000 signing bonus. In addition to playing together at San Ming HS in Kaohsiung - Taiwan, Chiang and Huang were selected to the 2005 junior national team.

Vital Statistics:
Chih-Hsien Chiang: DOB 2/21/1988, Stands 6'1" tall, Weighs 180 pounds
Chih-Hsiang Huang: DOB 11/18/1987, Stands 6'0" tall, Weight 172 pounds

The Red Sox will allow the two 18 year olds to finish HS, before embarking on their journey to the US. The Sox other signing, DJ Yeh, has already reported to minor league camp for spring training.

The NY Yankees received quite a scare today when Chien-Ming Wang was nailed on the knee from a ground ball comebacker. Before leaving the game, Wang had gone 2.1 innings, giving up 2 earned runs on 3 hits, while K'ing 3. Reports have Wang's injury diagnosed as a contusion.

The NPB season has begun. Y.C. Lin pitched the season opener for the Rakuten Eagles against the Nippon Ham. Lin was greeted rudely in his debut as he was shelled for 4 runs on 6 hits in 4.1 innings pitched and took the loss.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The streak continues....

Kuo pitched 2 more shutout innings on Sat. against the Cardinals. He also picked up 3 more K's, giving him 12 K's in 10 IP this spring. Kuo is doing all that he can to earn that last bullpen spot against Franquelis Osoria.

There's been a Tsao sighting. On Friday, Tsao tested his shoulder and threw 25 pitches . Tsao is hoping to get back to the parent club by his next birthday - June 2.

In his last preseason game b4 the start of the NPB season, Lin K'd in his only at bat. Lin's preseason BA stands at a paltry .256.

In the CPBL, as Maos has reported, Chen cranked his 2nd HR to help his club win 3-2 over the Lions. In other action, the CPBL's top pitcher - En Yu Lin pitched a dandy of a game against the Sinon Bulls - a complete game 1 hitter.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Kuo takes loss....

On Wed. Kuo gave up his first run, in a 2-1 loss to the Mets. However, since the run was unearned, Kuo's spring ERA still stands at 0.00. Kuo is still in the running along with Kelly Wunsch to fill the 2 left-handed reliever spots in the Dodgers rotation.

Over in the NPB, Lin went hitless in 3 AB's over 2 games. Check box scores here(Wed.) and here(Thurs.).

In Taiwan, as Maos reported earlier, C.F. Chen finally cracked his first HR in CPBL play. Read more here.

Baseball America ranked the top WBC prospects under 25 years old based on their play in the WBC. Hu was ranked #4 overall behind some impressive candidates. Hu held his own (0 K's) against 4 MLB pitchers from South Korea and 1 future ML in Matsuzaka of Japan. He also played tremendous defense.

Based on the Asian bracketed games that I saw, I'm surprised that Nishioka of Japan wasn't mentioned. His game and skills are impressive for someone who is only 21 years old.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tuesday News....

Pitching in a minor league game for the Yanks, Wang got rocked in a forgettable outing.

Kuo continued to shine for the Dodgers, as he pitched another scoreless inning against the Marlins.

In Japan, Lin got a pinch hit appearance against the Orix Buffaloes and grounded out.

Congratulations to Japan on winning the WBC! Goes to show that solid pitching, small ball, and a lil luck are recipes for success. Despite losing to Japan, South Korea had an outstanding tourney. Heck, they beat the WBC champs 2 out of 3 games. Hopefully, Taiwan can learn from their Asian counterparts and improve on this year's showing.

Monday, March 20, 2006

NPB results.....(Sun/Mon)

Sunday, Lin went 0-2 for the Hanshin Tigers as he DH'd vs. the Hiroshima Carp. Box

In other Sunday NPB action, Y.C. Lin got smacked around as he gave up 4 runs (3 earned - 1 via a solo shot) in 4 IP against the Yakult Swallows. Box

C.C. Chang pitched 1 inning for the Seibu Lions today. He struggled with his command and issued 2 free passes and an earned run in his short stint against the Rakuten Eagles. Box

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Dodgers in Action....(Saturday)

The Dodgers won 3 to 2 over the Tigers. The 2 Taiwanese kids represented themselves well. C.L. Hu started at SS and in 4 AB's, managed to get a hit (single). Defensively, Hu was in on a DP as well. Kuo pitched in the 7th and 8th innings, and was simply dominant. Kuo racked up 4 more K's and continued his scoreless streak. Box/Recap

MLB article on Kuo's K's

In the NPB, W.T. Lin got a pinch-hit appearance in the 9th. He K'd. Box

If you're interested, the CPBL 2006 season is officially underway. The Cobras beat the Bulls 11-6. Read more here.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Wang vs. Astros

In his 3rd preseason outing, Wang started and went 4 innings vs. the Houston Astros. Despite giving up 2 unearned runs on 5 hits, Wang had some difficulty with his command as 20 of his 50 pitches were out of the strike zone. Even so, Wang gave up no walks, had one K, and induced numerous ground outs. Box/Recap

Over in Japan, Lin continued to flash a hot bat as he went 2 for 4 with 2 singles in the Tigers 1-0 loss to the Hiroshima Carp. Box

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Kuo Streakin'.........

Hong-Chih Kuo continued his scoreless steak by pitching the 8th inning against the Braves today. Kuo gave up 1 hit, 1 walk, had a wild pitch, and surprisingly - had no K's! Box

W.T. Lin is starting to heat up for the Hanshin Tigers. On Monday, Lin doubled in his only at bat in the 8th inning against the Yomiuri Giants. Tuesday, Lin got another token at-bat and again singled in a run in his only plate appearance vs. the Nippon Ham Fighters. Finally, today against the Seibu Lions, Lin managed to continue his hitting streak by singling in his final AB to raise his spring average to .296 .

On Tuesday, Chunichi Dragons pitcher W.Y. Chen pitched 3 inning in relief of starter Hirai and was shaky in his appearance. Chen gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks. He did manage 3 K's though.

C.L. Hu got his first RBI of the spring with a sac fly against the Red Sox on Monday. Hu K'd in his only other AB. Box

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Wang: SBD....

This article from the NY Post elaborates on the "Silent but Deadly" monikker given to Wang - a man of few words who believes in action speaking louder than words.

Kuo pitched a scoreless 9th inning vs. the Houston Astros today. Kuo continues to impress in his push for a roster spot on the parent team. LA Dodgers Manager Grady Little has hinted that Kuo has the potential to be a solid starter for the ball club. Assuming that Kuo stays healthy, let's not forget that Kuo started off his pro career as a starter. It will be interesting to see how the Dodgers use Kuo this year.

Sunday Action in the NPB...

W.T. Lin went 0-3 as a DH in the Tigers 5-3 win over the Yomiuri Giants.

C.C. Chang started for the Lions against the Baystars and pitched 4 innings of shutout ball. Despite only giving up 2 hits and K'ing 3, he also walked 4 batters.

Second time around was a charm for Y.C. Lin. Lin started for the Eagles and pitched 5 innings against the Chunichi Dragons. He gave up 1 earned run on 3 hits, while striking out 3.

I love YouTube!!!

I found this great video of Taiwan vs. South Korea in the 2003 Asian championships.
YouTube has other videos on Taiwan Baseball as well; check it out!!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Today was a good day....

For Taiwanese ball players......

After a forgettable outing last time out, Wang had a much better performance today against a split-squad ATL team. Wang pitched a scoreless 3 innings, giving up 1 hit with 4 K's/0 walks. Box/Recap

Hu played in Sat.'s game vs. the Washinton Nationals. Hu had 2 plate appearances and managed another single. Box/Recap

In the NPB, OF Lin came off the bench vs. the Yakult Swallows and singled/walked and scored a run in his 2 plate appearances. Wei-Yin Chen pitched 1 scoreless inning and was credited with the 1-0 win over the Rakuten Eagles.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Preseason news....

Kuo pitched a perfect 1.1 innings against the Detroit Tigers today. He K'd 2 in his outing.

Yesterday, Lin went 1-3 for the Tigers vs. the Fukuoka Hawks in the NPB. Lin singled and scored a run in the 2nd inning. Interestingly enough, the Tigers have been experimenting with Lin by playing him at first base. Lin has not played that position since grade school.

Chih-Chia Chang, recovering from a previous injury, has lost a few miles off his fastball. Chang, who used to throw in the low 90's to high 80's, has only been clocked at a high of 85 mph this spring.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

ST updates...

In the Dodgers 9-3 win over the Orioles today, Ching-Lung Hu, singled in his only AB and was in on 2 double plays. Box

Kuo pitched a perfect 8th inning for the Dodgers yesterday, helping the Dodgers to beat the Cardinals 3-1. Box

In the NPB, Lin went 0-3 against the Rakuten Eagles Feb. 7th, but followed up with a 1-4 (double with RBI) effort against the Nippon Ham today.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Wang Shelled.....

In his first preseason start against the Blue Jays today, Wang went 2 innings, gave up 3 earned runs on 6 hits and 2 home runs (to Troy Glaus and Eric Hinske).

Box Score

Sunday, March 05, 2006

WBC Stats....

Final cumulative numbers for Taiwan: Link

Note these team stats for the first round:
team hitting
team pitching

Great pitching always beats great hitting. You also have to give SK credit for playing great defense and coming up with clutch hits when it counted the most.

NPB Preseason....

On Saturday, W.Y. Chen pitched 2 innings for Chunichi vs. Yokohama. He gave up 1 earned run on 1 hit, with 1 BB and 1 K.

C.C. Chang pitched another scoreless inning on Sunday for Seibu vs. the Tigers. He had one K.

Congrats to South Korea on beating Japan! I'm very impressed with their comeback and resilience. It goes to show, that if you have great pitching to keep things close, anything can happen. SK's gameplan vs. Japan is a blueprint for Taiwan's future success against Japan.

3rd in Asia.....

Well, considering the level of pitching that they faced against SK and Japan, I'd say that I'm pretty proud of the Taiwanese ball-players. Taiwan finally got their bats going against inferior pitching, crushing China 12-3. It was an important statement game for Taiwan vs. their political nemesis, as Taiwan had narrowly beaten China 3-1 in the 2003 Asian Games.

More impressively, US minor leaguers - Hu and Chen got their bats going as they collected nearly half (7) of the team's 15 hits. Chen hit a key grand slam, the first in WBC history, in the 4th inning to break open a close game at the time. Check here for boxscore and recap.

19 year old Yang has a bright future ahead of him; he was obviously overmatched this time around, but the kid has a great frame to build upon and is a good athlete. If he learns to hit the breaking ball, watch out.

Looking at the future of this ballclub, I'm pretty excited. The next WBC is going to be held in 2009. Defensively, the majority of the IF is set. 3B Chen and SS Hu are both only 22. 2B Yang is only 19. 1B Lin is the old man of the group at 24. In addition to playing great defense, these guys have the ability to contribute on the offensive side of the field.
The OF's if healthy should be in their prime in 3 years. C.F. Chen is 28, W.T. Lin is 27, and C.M. Peng is 27 as well.
Veterans Chang and Hsieh, who provided offensive firepower this year, could serve as DH's in the near future.
Pitching wise, a healthy Wang, Tsao, and Kuo would form a potent 1-2-3 combo. If Chih-Chia Chang ever returns to his old form, he'd be another important starter. En-Yu Lin showed why he is the top young arm in the CPBL. He clearly outshined the other 2 recent NPB signees - Y.C. Lin of the Eagles and Y.H. Yang of the Hawks. The key here would be the development of more quality arms in the next 2-3 years to give the team more depth.

Good luck to Japan and South Korea as they advance to the 2nd round in the WBC. Represent Asia well!!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Debut of Yang....

The 19 year old is starting at 2B and hitting in the 9 hole for Taiwan vs. China. I'm excited to get my first good look at him tonight.

Total Domination....

The Japanese NT showed why it is one of the best teams in the world. I watched most of the game in the early morning and saw one heckuva batting lineup. Matsuzaka might not have been his dominant self, but he was still throwing nasty breaking balls mixed in with his 92-93 mph cheese.
Japan's hitters 1-9 all showed that they could stroke the ball, exhibiting power, patience, and a good eye at the plate. Tonight's matchup between South Korea and Japan should be a dandy, but I can't see South Korea beating this team.

Bright spots for Taiwan were too few, but Y.F. Tsai was pretty impressive pitching out there. I was disappointed with Kuo's command of his pitches, he was all over the place. I didn't get to see Yang's last inning performance, but on paper, he showed why he's one of the CPBL's top pitchers. For our young hitters, Y.C. Chen was overmatched in the game against Matsuzaka. Hu held his own and stroked a clutch hit/RBI against Kobayashi.

All in all, Taiwan needed all the help it could get, but in the end, it was like watching a varsity club compete against a JV team. Final score: Japan 14 Taiwan 3

Game Recap
Box Score

Friday, March 03, 2006

Hyping up Wang...

The Yanks continue to lavish praise on Wang, citing his potential to be a #2 starter behind Randy Johnson. Wang, who recently agreed to a one year deal worth close to $400,000, is scheduled to be the #3 starter for the series opener vs. the Oakland A's.

In relations to the WBC, having Wang on the team might not have made a huge difference for the Taiwanese NT. With the strict pitch limit, Wang at most, might have been able to pitch 4 innings vs. South Korea. For the next WBC, this is one rule change that must be made. You can't have a true international baseball tournament with a pitching limitation restriction. In regards to Taiwan's future, if Wang, Tsao, and Kuo all can stay healthy, and with the development of a few new arms, the potential for greatness is there.

Do or Die....

Win or go home........ Taiwan is in a must win situation if it wants any chance at making it to the US. However, Taiwan find itself in a huge hole and playing the role of David against Japan's finely tuned Goliath. Without 2 of their better pitchers available, Coach Lin will need some type of miracle to stymie Japan's potent offense and pray that the game is in reach once Matsuzaka reaches the 65 pitch limit. I fully expect to see Taiwan's only major leaguer, Kuo, pitch maybe 2 innings if things are close.

MLB's preview of tonight's game

Go the WBC's homepage and click on Gameday link to follow live play-by-play action

If you have ESPN2, it will be televised live Sat. morning at 1:00 AM Pacific/4:00 AM Eastern (US)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

CT vs. SK in game update...

***South Korea has struck first, with a run scoring double by catcher Hong, putting SK up 1-0 in the top of the 4th inning.

***South Korea has scored again as J.B. Lee has doubled in another run off Taiwan's 2nd pitcher Y.J. Lin in the 5th inning.

***7th inning stretch......close ball game....anyone else think that the 65 pitch limit rule SUCKS???

***9th inning rally falls short....Our boys played a good game, hit against some MLB pitchers, E.Y. Lin showed that he is ready to play overseas, but final score - South Korea 2 Taiwan 0

Box score available here

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Role of the underdog....

Well, upon seeing both national teams compete against his Lotte ball club, Bobby Valentine feels that the South Korean NT has the upper hand. The SK NT defeated the Lotte Marines 7-2, pretty much after the same Lotte team had defeated the Taiwanese NT 6-3. Despite the games only being exhibition matches, the SK NT demonstrated that it has superior pitching depth as well as ample power compared to what Taiwan is able to throw out on the field.

Assuming a win vs. mainland China and a loss to the Japanese NT, the game vs SK is of the upmost importance to Taiwan advancing to the next round. With tomorrow's key game upon us, Taiwan will definitely be in the role of a huge underdog against a very good SK team. However, the way the WBC is set up, you only need to be good enough or lucky enough to win on any given day. With that said, don't rule out Taiwan's chances of making it to the next round.

I'll be watching the game via tape delay, so for those of you watching the game live, feel free to keep us updated as to how our boys do.
Till then, JIA YO!