There is one match on the CPBL card on Thursday in Taiwan. The Fubon Guardians and Rakuten Monkeys will take the field at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium for the 16th and 15th games for the Monkeys this year. Rakuten are off to a fast start in the CPBL. They look like the clear team to beat and haven’t shown many flaws.
Other than a bullpen that can get a bit spotty at times, there aren’t any glaring needs for the Monkeys. Every club in the CPBL has bullpen issues, so when you look at it like that, they’re still going to make out fine deep in contests. If better pitching is more to your liking, then the KBO has what you need because there are some decent pitching staffs in South Korea.
The CPBL hasn’t gotten the attention that the KBO is getting, but there is still some solid baseball being played in Taiwan. And with Covid-19 continuing to clear up in Taiwan, they are going to start relaxing their rules around banning fans from attention matches. If everything goes according to plan, the CPBL will begin allowing up to 1,000 fans at games beginning tomorrow on Friday.
These fans will undoubtedly be spread out throughout the stadium and not allowed to sit together, but it’s a good start, a really good start. It also provides a blueprint for other leagues around the world. The Monkeys haven’t needed support from their fans to find a bunch of wins. They’re off to a fast start in 2020, as the Monkeys look to four-peat as CPBL champions.
There has not been any competition in sight for the Monkeys thus far. They roll into Thursday with a record of 11-3 as opposed to a record of 8-9 for the No. 2 Chinatrust Brothers. The Fubon Guardians were not expected to play so poorly out of the starting gate, but here we are. Fubon are 6-9 on the season as they try to keep up with the Monkeys.
It’s a wide open race for 2nd, and who knows, that’s all a club might need to upset the Monkeys in the Taiwan Series. A win today could give the Guardians a nice confidence boost, though this assignment is going to be tricky. Head below for our free Fubon Guardians vs. Rakuten Monkeys pick for May 7, 2020 in the CPBL.
Fubon Guardians vs. Rakuten Monkeys CPBL Betting Odds:
Fubon Guardians vs. Rakuten Monkeys Prediction:
When a starting pitcher sees that they’re assigned the Monkeys it can’t be a great feeling. The Monkeys have killed the ball at the plate this season. They’ve scored an average of 9.6 runs scored per game. In their previous three outings, the Monkeys have recorded 11 runs per game with a total of 33 scores. They’re coming off a 9-3 win over the Chinatrust Brothers on Sunday, so have had a nice break the past few days. That should bode well for their bullpen, which is really the only trouble spot on the roster, but that goes for everyone in the CPBL.
The Monkeys are scheduled to give international player, Justin Nicolino, the call on Thursday against the Fubon Guardians. Nicolino was fairly serviceable in 50 games as a major leaguer. As a Miami Marlin from 2015 to 2017, Nicolino posted a 4.65 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. Surely he could have been better, but there’s a lot of pitchers in MLB that are throwing up those numbers and still have a job in some capacity in the majors.
Issues with control in the minors is what killed his career in the big leagues. However, he was able to resurrect his career in the Dominican Winter League in 2019-20. Nicolino was good, as he finished with a 3.34 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 29.2 innings.
Nicolino recently made his CPBL debut and was sharp as ever. He didn’t allow a run over 8 innings of work. Nicolino concluded the contest with a terrific 0.50 WHIP. In four warmup starts with the II club, Nicolino was excellent there as well. He posted a 2.31 ERA and 0.90 WHIP, so it wasn’t just a one-time thing for Nicolino in Taiwan.
Nicolino should expect to get solid support from his offense in this one as well. Fellow American, Bryan Woodall has hit a wall and needs quick relief soon. Woodall has notched a 7.98 ERA and 1.77 WHIP in three starts with the Guardians in 2020. After 2019, where he finished with a 5.48 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, there has to be concerns regarding Woodall.
It’s not like the Guardians have much support from elsewhere if Woodall keeps struggling, though. They’re going to have to hope that Woodall can turn it around. That’s unlikely going to happen against the Monkeys on Thursday. Look for the Monkeys to cruise to a comfortable win over the Guardians.