With the CPBL season on its way for a bit more than a week now, the Rakuten Monkeys appear the team to beat this year. Far into today’s game, it looked like the Monkeys would wrap up their eighth straight win but the 7-Eleven Uni Lions spoiled their party in the final inning.
Thanks to today’s loss, no teams are without a loss. As a matter of fact, the team continues to do what it has been doing the past eight years. Of the past eight seasons, the team won the Taiwanese championship six times.
New sponsor/owner Rakuten cannot wish for a better start of the team. The sponsor’s name gets a lot of attention.
Monkeys starting pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla cruised through the first six innings as he allowed three runs but in the seventh, he was tabbed for three more to raise his ERA to 4.70. He was pulled after 6.2 innings.
Ryan Feierabend, who pitched parts of five seasons in the Major Leagues, struggled in four innings and one batter faced in the fifth as he allowed seven runs to raise his ERA to 6.46.
So what appeared to become a clear victory for the Rakuten Monkeys, turned into a real game. Some 150 Uni Lion fans, all season ticket holders, saw their team come back from behind in the ninth on a leadoff home run, a walk, a sac bunt and a base hit to right field that drove in the winning run.
Despite their first loss, the Rakuten Monkeys remain the only team with a winning record (7-1), leading the Chinatrust Brothers Elephants (4-5) by 3.5 games and the 7-Eleven Lions (4-6) by four.
With hardly any fans in the stands, the CPBL clubs are losing between $85K and $167K per game in revenue.