Uni Lions vs Rakuten Monkeys Pick – CPBL May 23, 2020

Rain, rain, go away…

It’s been doing nothing but pouring here in Virginia over the past 3 days thanks to Tropic Storm Arthur.

Taiwan hasn’t fared much better.

All CPBL games have been postponed so far this week. Hopefully, it clears up tomorrow.

There is no current typhoon hitting the small island nation but the rain has been heavy and consistent.

It appears there is nothing but wetness ahead for Taiwan over the next couple of months.

June is the peak of typhoon season and July is mostly afternoon thunderstorms.

Saturday’s game is scheduled for tomorrow evening Taiwan time and it looks like the threat of rain is down to 40% in Taoyuan City where the Rakuten Monkeys play their home games.

I hope we can get a game or two!

BetOnline.AG has the betting odds for us today.

Let’s break those down along with the pitching matchups for each ball club and then make our predictions.

Uni Lions @ Rakuten Monkeys


  • Rakuten (-250)
  • Uni (+175)
Run Line

  • Rakuten -1.5 (-120)
  • Uni +1.5 (-120)
Run Total

  • Over 11.5 (-120)
  • Under 11.5 (-120)

Taking the mound for the Uni Lions will be knuckleballer Ryan Feierabend.

Ryan will turn 35 this summer but has had some pretty decent outings in his first year in the CPBL.

He is a journeyman, like most international players in the league.

Most of these American or Dominican pitchers have started a few games for the MLB but have also spent a significant amount of time bouncing around the minors and/or various international leagues.

Ryan played in the Korean Baseball Organization in 2018. That was when he decided to reinvent himself and completely change his approach to pitching.

He started throwing the knuckleball.

I’m sure some of you remember Tim Wakefield. He is widely considered as the best knuckleballer of his generation.

When these guys are hot, they are virtually unhittable.

When that ball doesn’t dance as they want, though, that’s when batters start to tee off.

Ryan has faced each of the three other teams in the CPBL so far this season.

Let’s see how he did against the hard-hitting first place Rakuten Monkey on April 25th.

  • 4 innings of work
  • Season-high
  • 10 hits
  • 2 homers
  • 7 earned runs allowed

Not so good, Ryan.

He has been solid as of late, though.

In his previous two appearances vs the Guardians and the Brother Elephants, he pitched a combined 11 total innings and only allowed 1 earned run.

When he is successful, Ryan usually strikes batters out or they pop up/fly out.

He doesn’t get many ground ball outs.

I think that is a big reason why the Monkeys were able to eat him up for 10 hits and 7 runs in just 4 innings.

They hit a lot of home runs and gappers in the air.

The Brothers are more of a base hit/ground ball hitting team.

It’s hard to argue against Ryan’s recent form but not many CPBL pitchers have been able to shut down the Monkeys’ bats.

The Lions are tied for second in the league in runs scored but Rakuten still plates two more base runners per game.

They’re hitting .355 and scoring nearly 9 runs/game!

The CPBL will hold an owners’ meeting on May 25th to discuss the FACT that the baseballs used in the 2020 CPBL season are JUICED!

Here is a cool article on the CPBL stats webpage about how they measure the juice in the baseballs, these levels in the past, and also compare the CPBL to other baseball leagues including the MLB.

In 2016 in the CPBL, hitters were averaging 43 at bats/home run and 1.66/game.

This year, batters are sending one ever 28 trips to the plate, and teams are pushing close to 3 long balls per game at 2.75.

They haven’t pulled the juiced balls from competition yet, though. It looks like they want to wait until the halfway point of the regular season.

We will adjust our betting sails accordingly but until then, let ’em fly, boys!

Taking the bump for the Rakuten Monkeys is left-hander Ryan Carpenter.

The 6’5” 240 monster is still south of his 30th birthday for a few more months and has pitched quite well in 2020.

Carpenter, like the other Ryan, is in his first year with the CPBL.

I am sure both men were furious when they first heard of the juiced ball but validated and relieved at the same time.

Both guys have ERA’s well under the league average, anyway, so they are both good pitchers.

The top three leaders in hits and runs scored for the Uni Lions are each left-handed batters who prey on right-handed pitching.

They won’t be afforded that luxury against the Monkeys on Saturday with the Arizona southpaw on the mound.

Carpenter did make his league debut on April 15th against the Lions and they smacked him around for 5 runs in 6 innings.

After throwing 13 innings over his next two starts and not allowing 1 earned run, he gave up just two while striking out 7 in his next start.

One week ago, though, in his most recent appearance, Ryan was lit up for 6 runs in 7 innings. It is difficult to get a read on either pitcher.

Ryan has been very good and very bad.

Ryan has also been very good and very bad at times.

Knuckleball Ryan appears to be in better form and both guys have been hit hard by the other team.

These are good pitchers, yes, but the ball is still juiced and 11.5 is not much!

Remember, the Monkeys score nearly 9/game. The Lions allow nearly 9 a game as well.

I think the Uni Lions have some value on the run line but neither pitcher has been consistently effective or ineffective in 2020.

Even if both starters have solid outings, I think we hit 12 total runs by the bottom of the 7th.

Pick: Over 11.5 Runs

My Pick
Over 11.5 Runs!

In Conclusion

Let’s hope we get some sunshine in Taiwan tomorrow!

The entire league has rained out for three consecutive days now.

That’s enough.

We all want to see the Rakuten cheerle…ehem batters hit some home runs!

The story has been broken!

The CPBL balls are juiced!

No, it’s not just the Rakuten Monkeys’ baseballs.

They are hitting over .350 as a team and scoring close to 9 runs a game, though.

Couple that with the Uni Lions allowing the same amount of runners to cross home plate per game and I think the over 11.5 is money.

Both Ryan’s are good pitchers but have had up and down performances.

What are the chances of both of them having their best game of the season on Saturday?

That’s the only way this one doesn’t go over 12 total runs, in my opinion.

Get your bets in ASAP because I believe the run total is headed north.

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.