The Rakuten Monkeys and Fubon Guardians will attempt to get this game in after Saturday was rained out. The Monkeys opened up this series on Friday with a 7-6 win over the Guardians in extra innings. It was an entertaining matchup that went back-and-forth. The Monkeys did enough to get a 7-6 win Friday out of the deal in that one.
It wasn’t easy with the Monkeys needing a comeback to get the win. The Monkeys can win in a lot of different ways, and they showcased how they can win the close ones as well. Generally, you are going to find the Monkeys winning by large margins rather than close 1-run wins. We’ve already seen them as -2.5 favorites this season on multiple occasions.
The Monkeys are ahead of the pack by a mile and it’s early in the season. There’s two ways of looking at that. Either they are way better than everyone else and no one will catch them, or there’s still a lot of time left for someone to catch them. I’m going to lean with the Monkeys being that much better than everyone else. That’s not to say that an upset can’t happen in the Taiwan Series, but the Monkeys should be able to cruise in the regular season.
Another championship for the Monkeys and they’re looking at four straight. It’s certainly looking like the Monkeys are ready to strike again. The Guardians put up a good fight in that loss on Friday. Putting up a good fight is the most that they’re likely going to get in 2020, though. The Guardians head into Sunday with a record of 9-13. They’re the only club in Taiwan without double-digit wins yet.
The Uni-Lions have a record of 10-15 and the Chinatrust Brothers are at 11-13 heading into today. That leaves the Monkeys all alone on an island at 16-5. The Wei Chaun Dragons are set to join the CPBL next season after playing a year in the II league, so perhaps they get some competition then? Don’t bet on it.
The Dragons will make the CPBL a five-team league again, but not much is going to change. Mike Loree is expected to make his 2020 debut after overcoming a severe collarbone injury. Loree has been one of the most successful pitchers in the CPBL since joining the league in 2012, but is getting up there in age and is coming off a major injury. Former Texas Ranger and Cincinnati Red, Lisalverto Bonilla, is expected to get the start for the Monkeys in this one. Head below for our free Rakuten Monkeys vs. Fubon Guardians pick for May 17, 2020 in the CPBL.
Rakuten Monkeys vs. Fubon Guardians CPBL Baseball Odds:
Rakuten Monkeys vs. Fubon Guardians Prediction:
Loree has a terrific ERA of 3.19 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in his CPBL career since coming to Taiwan in 2012. He’s been one of the most consistent performers in the league, but how he responds to a major collarbone injury is going to be interesting. If his warm up games in the II league is any indicator, then Loree might be in for some difficulties, at least early on before he shakes off some rust. Loree was rocked with the II club for 9.00 ERA and 2.00 WHIP in two starts across 8 innings. That wasn’t what the Guardians were expecting, though it’s never easy to put out projections for a guy coming off collarbone surgery as a 35-year-old.
If this were the major leagues, it’s highly probable that Loree would not be getting called on to pitch here. He’d get some more work in the minor leagues before he begins to show signs of improvement. And the Guardians aren’t making it easy on him with this assignment. Right out of the gate, Loree gets tasked with trying to slow down the Monkeys. With the Monkeys scoring 185 runs going into Sunday, they’ve averaged 9 runs per contest. It’s not even really close compared to the others, as the Uni-Lions are second-best in the league with 166 runs scored.
If Loree shows any signs of stress early, the Monkeys will certainly feast on the Guardians’ bullpen. The Guardians are third in the CPBL with 153 runs allowed for 7 runs per game. They might be able to find success versus Bonilla, who has been just okay as a rookie in the CPBL. He’s posted a 4.28 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in four starts and a brief appearance out of the bullpen. The wildcard in this game is Loree, who didn’t look good in warm up starts in his first action some coming back from his injury. I think he’s eventually going to settle in this season, but wouldn’t be surprised to see the Guardians get to him in his first start back.