2008 Taiwan Series
The 2008 Taiwan Series began on October 25, 2008. The Uni-President Lions defended their title from the 2007 Taiwan Series against the Brother Elephants. The Series set a new record for attendance at a Taiwan Series - 96,825 fans showed up, over 10,000 more than the 2003 record. It was a nice distraction from the CPBL's latest gambling scandal, which was coming to light and had already destroyed the dMedia T-Rex with another team implicated as well.
The Lions were 67-33 for the best record in the league and won the first-half title; they were second in the second half. Key performers were OF Wu-Hsiung Pan (.346/.457/.605, third in the league in average), 1B Kuo-Ching Kao (.332/.377/.466, third with 74 RBI), 3B Tilson Brito (.330/.407/.607, the leader with 24 HR and 102 RBI) and DH Lien-Hung Chen (.314/.413/.511, 65 RBI, tied for 4th with 13 HR). Leading the staff were Wei-Lun Pan (12-2, 2.76, 4th in the league in ERA, third in wins), Lou Pote (13-5, 4.30, 2nd in wins) and Chih-Chiang Chang (6-5, 3.48). Yueh-Ping Lin (7-4, 17 Sv, 3.87) was second in the league in saves.
The Elephants had gone 52-42-4 to finish third overall and had won neither half, but beat the second-half champion La New Bears in the playoffs. 1B/OF Cheng-Min Peng (.391/.491/.535) had won the batting title, while OF Kuan-Jen Chen (.348, 77 RBI) was second in both average and RBI. DH/OF Chih-Yuan Chen (.302, 11 HR) was their top home run threat. SS Sheng-Wei Wang (.257) led the league with 24 steals, followed by Peng and two other teammates as the Elephants ran far more than anyone else. Yu-Cheng Liao (11-3, 2.31, led the league in ERA, 4th in wins) was their ace though Ryokan Kobayashi (10-6, 2.66, 110 K) was second in the league in strikeouts, 5th in wins and 3rd in ERA. Another import, Dan Core, was 9-5 with a 3.52 ERA.
- October 25: Elephants 9, Lions 3. Yu-Cheng Liao allows 10 hits in 5 1/3 IP but gives up just two runs in the win whereas Luther Hackman surrenders 5 in 6 1/3 innings for the loss. LF Kuan-Jen Chen doubles twice, singles and drives home two for the winners while SS Sheng-Wei Wang goes 2 for 5 with a double and RBI. Both Wu-Hsiung Pan and Lien-Hung Chen go 3 for 5 with a double in a losing cause.
- October 26: Lions 5, Elephants 4. With a massive Taiwan baseball crowd of 17,523 on hand, the two clubs engage in a tight duel. Ryokan Kobayashi gets the call for the Elephants but surrenders five runs in six innings to take the loss, while Wei-Lun Pan goes 8 innings for the win. Yueh-Ping Lin went 1-2-3 in the 9th for the save. 1B Kuo-Ching Kao goes 2 for 3 with a triple and 2 RBI to lead a balanced Lions attack. For the Elephants, both 1B Chin-Yong Wang and Ming-Hsien Lin go deep in the 5th but it's not enough.
- October 28: Elephants 6, Lions 5. The Elephants burst out to a 6-0 lead after six before the Lions make it a close finish. Dan Core walks 4 in 1 1/3 IP as the Elephants' starter but allows no runs before leaving; Chia-Rui Mai replaces him and gives up just 2 runs in 5 for the win. Giancarlo Alvarado walked six in 5 innings and allowed four runs to take the loss. Tilson Brito and Lien-Hung Chen both homer off Matt Perisho in the 8th but it is too little too late. Chih-Yuan Chen went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI for the winners.
- October 29: Lions 5, Elephants 0. The seesaw series continued with a dazzling pitching display by Luther Hackman, who tossed 8 shutout innings of 4-hit ball, fanning 7. His fellow American, Dan Core, allowed 5 hits, 4 walks and 4 runs in two innings in a horrid start on no days' rest. 1B Kuo-Ching Kao drives in two and LF Wu-Hsiung Pan stole 3 bases for the Lions.
- October 30: Lions 7, Elephants 4. The Lions move a game away from clinching in a match-up of top pitchers. Wei-Lun Pan did not turn in a great outing, but he was better than Yu-Cheng Liao (6 walks in 5 innings). 1B Kuo-Ching Kao scored three and C Chih-Kang Kao drove in three. In a losing cause, LF Chih-Yuan Chen went 3 for 5 with 2 runs.
Lions hurler Yueh-Ping Lin got the crowd worked up by pumping his fist after a double play ball. Elephants fans, in reaction, crowded around the Lions bus after the game and threw objects at it. Police had to come to rescue the Lions.
- November 1: Elephants 5, Lions 0. The Elephants force a decisive game seven behind excellent pitching from Ryokan Kobayashi (6 IP, 7 K, 4 H) and Matt Perisho (2 IP, 3 K, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB). Giancarlo Alvarado allows just one run in 7 innings for the loss. 3B Jui-Chen Chen (3 for 4, 2B, 2 RBI) and 1B Chin-Yong Wang (2 for 4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) lead the offense.
- November 2: Lions 4, Elephants 0. Luther Hackman again turned in a dominant performance, tossing a complete game shutout and allowing only 4 hits and 2 walks. The offensive support came from DH Lien-Hung Chen (1 for 4, 2-run homer). Catcher Chih-Kang Kao successfully blocked home to stop Jui-Chen Chen from scoring from third in the 5th. Chia-Rui Mai took the loss. Hackman took home Series MVP honors.