Rakuten Monkeys vs Fubon Guardians Pick – CPBL April 28, 2020

Well, it’s about time the Rakuten Monkeys lost a game!

It’s actually been two in a row for the 1st place team in the CPBL. We picked them a couple of days ago to defeat the then last place Uni Lions by a 2.5 run line.

Rakuten started smacking around knuckleballer Ryan Feierabend in the first inning for a total of 4 runs. By the bottom of the 6th, the Monkeys were in control of the game, winning by a score of 7-2.

After that, the lowly Lions caught fire. Uni scored 2 runs in the bottom of the ninth to get the very emotional win. While the Monkeys were still shell shocked, the Uni Lions played romper room with their emotions beating up on the first place team 12-5.

After each team takes the day off on Monday, I’m sure the Rakuten Monkeys will be re-focused and ready to continue their dominance.

Lisaverto Bonilla, who started Saturday’s game for the Monkeys, was working off of 5 scoreless innings and finished his day 6 ⅔ pitched allowing 6 earned. He still left with the lead and after two relievers held strong, Chen Yuxun blew the save and recorded a loss in the 9th.

Over the weekend, Monkey’s local pitcher Weng Weijun got tatted for 10 hits and 7 earned runs in just the first three innings.

The Monkeys offense came alive in the later innings but it wasn’t enough to stop the no longer last-place Uni Lions.

That brings us to the current last-place team in the CPBL, the Fubon Guardians.

Fubon is coming off of a series with the Chinatrust Brothers where they split two games by one run each and were walloped 11-0 back on Friday. Starter You Tingwei gave the Guardians 6 strong innings of work on Sunday giving up just 1 run.

The bullpen allowed 3 over the final 3 innings but a 3-run first inning and a total of 3 home runs gave them just enough cushion to get the 5-4 victory. Third baseman Jiang Zhixian brought his batting average up to .341 with a 2-4 day hitting, 2 scored, and 2 RBI’s.

I expect Rakuten to be rejuvenated on Tuesday and I’m not sure what to expect from the Guardians.

BetOnline.AG has the betting odds for us today. Let’s break down the pitching matchup and make our predictions.

Run Line

  • Monkeys -1.5 (-175)
  • Guardians +1.5 (+135)
Money Line

  • Monkeys (-300)
  • Guardians (+220)
Run Total

  • Over 10.5 (-120)
  • Under 10.5 (-120)

American pitcher Justin Nicolino takes the bump for the Rakuten Monkeys. The Florida-native and former Marlins starter amassed 33 starts over the course of his 3-year stint in the Majors. His ERA could have been better at 4.84 but that’s not terrible either.

It was definitely good enough to get him to where he is today in the CPBL as exposure and popularity grows by the day for the league. He has a good opportunity to win a championship with the first place Monkeys as well.

They are going for their fourth consecutive Taiwan Series Title in 2020. This season has been a friendly one for the 29-year-old. 5 appearances, 4 of which were starts, 23 innings pitched with an ERA of only 2.31 and a WHIP under 1.00 at .90.

He has struck out 20 batters and has yet to give up one longball. I like what the lefty from Orlando has been able to do so far.

By the way, guys, if you want to watch the game, it will be available in English on the Eleven Sports Twitter account.

Don’t quote me but I believe they are covering all of the Rakuten Monkey games and the word is very soon that the other game will be commentated in English very soon.

Sharing the mound with Nicolino will be fellow American Bryan Woodall. Unlike the former, Woodall is a veteran of the CPBL. Bryan has been with the league for nearly half a decade.

After spending 7 years of his prime bouncing around the minor leagues across the country from Yakima, Washington to Mobile, Alabama to Reno to Scottsdale and back to where the skies are so blue.

So blue in fact that Bryan decided to take his show to Taiwan. After 3 years with the Chinatrust Brothers, Bryan then joined forces with his current team, the Fubon Guardians. After keeping his ERA under 4.00 from 2015-2018, Woodall had a rough year in 2019.

He started 18 of 21 games in which he appeared that year but finished the season with a record of 2-12 and an ERA of 5.48, a career-high for a full season’s work.

2020 hasn’t been very friendly to the CPBL veteran either. 2 starts-7 total innings pitched, 11 earned runs, 3 walks, 14 hits, 3 of which were home runs. Not good, man.

You’re going to have to do better than that if you expect to calm the busy bats of the first place Monkeys. Rakuten is averaging 9 runs scored per contest and Fubon is giving up 6.5 per game.

On offense, the Guardians have scored just under 6 per game and the Monkeys have given up just 6 as well.

It’s not too often you see a moneyline as high as 3 to 1 for a baseball game but the pitching matchup clearly favors the better team.

Are the Rakuten bats out of the 9-inning slump they had over a couple of days? I think so.

Even though they lost big on Sunday, they did score 5 times in the final 5 innings. I’m surprised the run line isn’t 2.5 but (-175) is still a lot of juice for the Monkeys at (-1.5).

I’ll take the refocused Rakuten Monkeys to win this one fairly comfortably by a score of 9-3. That is good enough for the run line and run total. I am more confident in the latter, by the way, but I believe both will hit.

We are 6-2 so far this season. I would love to get to 80% by close of business tomorrow.

My Pick
RAKUTEN MONKEYS -1.5
-175
OVER 10.5
-120

In Conclusion

The Monkeys finally lost a game! Then they lost again! 2 games? In a row? How about 3? Nahhhh…

First-year starter Justin Nicolino has been tremendous thus far in 2020 for the Rakuten Monkeys. I think the lefty will keep the Guardians’ bats at bay through 6 or 7 innings.

Hopefully, the Monkeys have put up close to 10 runs by then and the bullpen won’t be under any pressure to lock things up.

Fubon’s starting pitcher Bryan Woodall appears to be on the decline in his career. 2019 was not pretty and an ERA of 14.14 through two starts isn’t helping his cause.

Keep in mind, we do have a minor league in the CPBL. and Bryan may be on his way down soon if he can’t improve his play very soon.

Let’s go over 10.5 which Rakuten offense might be able to handle all by themselves, and take them at (-175), ugh, to win by 2.

Get your bets in now and get up early tomorrow (6:00 AM Eastern) to watch the action!

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.