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Reversal of fortune continues for Lions

In a dramatic reversal of fortune, the Uni-President Lions seemed to have lost their lucky charm. They were routed by the Sinon Bulls 10-0 in Chinese Professional Baseball League action last night, and are now on a four-game losing skid.Turning from a roaring beast into a timid pussy cat, the Lions' starting pitcher Tsao "The General" Jun-yang got knocked around by the Sinon Bull hitters as early as the opening frame.
The Bulls tagged the right-hander for four runs in the first inning, with the big blow from Bulls' first baseman Hsu Kuo-long's three-run homer.
Playing at home in the renovated Taichung ballpark, the Sinon team piled up seven runs by the third frame for an easy victory.
The Sinon batters would pound away at the rest of President's relievers for 14 hits and 10 runs in the game last night, as the lethargic Lions could not get anything going to break the goose egg.
Bulls' right-hander ace Yang "A-Fu" chalked up his seventh win, scattering seven hits in as many innings, and combined with reliever Cheng Min-han to preserve the shutout.
Complete turnaround
Now beaten in four straight games, the CPBL's feline kings are wondering what has hit them to cause the big turnaround.
The Tainan-based Lions looked like world-beaters just over a week ago, as they broke Taiwan's pro baseball record with 17 straight wins in a down to the wire finish against the La New Bears for the 2006 season's first-half title. They took on all comers, seemingly firing on all cylinders with solid pitching, timely hitting, and a reduction in the number of miscues in defense. Now their winning formula has seemingly deserted them, and their fans are wondering if the team will now set a new record for consecutive losses.
Since blanking the Brother Elephants 7-0 on June 23, the Lions have been beaten in succession by the Macoto Cobras (5-3, June 24), and the Chinatrust Whales (4-3, June 27), and have now lost a pair to the rampaging Bulls (5-3, June 30, and then the 10-0 whitewashing from last night).
In the other CPBL action yesterday, the Whales trounced the Cobras 9-2 to wrap up the brief two-game stand in Hualien City.
The Whales and the Cobras can claim a split in their two-game series for this east coast swing, with lopsided results, after the Cobras blasted the Whales 9-1 on Saturday in the first encounter.
Leftfielder Huang "Big Head" Guei-yu led Chinatrust's "Killer Whale" attack, going 3-for-4 with a solo home run, three RBI's and three runs scored. Chinatrust's new lefty pitcher from Venezuela, Alex Herrera, gained his first win in Taiwan on five hits and six strikeouts over seven innings while giving up only two earned runs.,
In other results from Saturday, the Brother Elephants lost for the ninth time in the last ten games, in a 6-2 drubbing by the first half-season titlist Bears.
The once mighty Brother Elephants, three-time CPBL champions from 2001 to 2003, have declined precipitously, finishing second last in the first half of the season and ten games from first place.
Downward spiral
Seeing how the other teams have improved overall, while the Elephant team is currently on a downward spiral, the team supporters staged a protest before the game at Taipei's Tianmu Stadium on Saturday.
They had fans signing a petition, and handed a list of demands to the Brother club owner and general manager Hong Ruei-ho.
Their principle gripe seems to be the fact that the league's other teams have seen fit to invest in a farm team for expanded roster selection, and better development of young players, while Hong has resisted calls for such a set-up.
Other grievances by the club supporters include the shoddy system of scouting that has had the Brother team blindly choosing untested prospects in the recent drafts, and taking on unknown foreign baseballers who have not performed to expectations in a constant revolving door of import players.
Some fans have also called for the head of the Elephants manager Wu Shi-Hsien to be sacked, saying his use of conservative thinking with constant bunting and sacrifice hits and a lack of creative strategy are also reasons for the team's lackluster results this year.

Updated : 2021-10-18 23:15 GMT+08:00