2023 Taiwan Series Champions: Wei Chuan Dragons

After eight months, 300 regular-season games, and ten postseason games, it all came down to this moment: Game 7 of the Taiwan Series, the final showdown!

On November 12, fans painted the sky red with thousands of streamers as the Wei Chuan Dragons emerged victorious, defeating the Rakuten Monkeys 6-3 and winning the 2023 CPBL Championship. It is worth noting this marks the Dragons’ fifth Taiwan Series title in their franchise history.

G7 Recap

The action commenced right away in the top of the first inning, with the Monkeys’ Lin Li leading off with a single, stealing second, advancing to third on a ground out, and scoring on Liao Chien-Fu’s RBI single, giving the Monkeys an early 1-0 lead.

The Dragons swiftly responded in the bottom of the first, capitalising on the Monkeys’ starter Jake Dahlberg’s command issues, which led to five walks in that inning.

Note: The umpire’s strike zone was quite inconsistent, especially for lower pitches, at least according to on-screen TrackMan data.

Li Kai-Wei started off with a leadoff single, and Giljegiljaw Kungkuan drew a walk. However, the next hitter grounded into a double play, leaving the Dragons with runner third with two outs.

At that time, it seemed that Jake Dahlberg would be able to escape the inning without much damage, but then, he loaded up the bases with two back-to-back walks and gave up the tying run on an infield single.

The Dragons’ Chang Cheng-Yu hit a hard grounder down the line, and the Monkeys first baseman made a stellar sliding catch, but he was too far away from the first base to record the third out.

It became a very close foot race to first base between Jake Dahlberg and Chang Cheng-Yu. And upon video review, Chang narrowly beat Dahlberg by probably less than 10 centimetres.

With the bases still loaded, Jake Dahlberg continued to struggle with his command and walked another two hitters to make the score 3-1.

After issuing his fifth walk of the inning, the Monkeys’ coaching staff finally pulled Jake Dahlberg and put in Tseng Jen-Ho, hoping to stop the bleeding. It didn’t work for the Monkeys as the Dragons added two more runs with a 2-RBI single by Kao Hsiao-Yi, extending the lead to 5-1.

In the top of the second inning, the Monkeys responded, cutting the deficit to 3-5 with a leadoff double, a throwing error by the Dragons shortstop, and Chen Chen-Wei’s 2-RBI double.

Although the Monkeys had an opportunity to score in the top of the fifth inning with runners on first and second and no outs, Dragons’ starter, Drew Gagnon, diffused the situation by striking out the next three hitters to end the inning.

At the top of the seventh inning, Drew Gagnon appeared to hurt his hamstring when he rushed off the mound and tried to catch an infield pop fly.

The Dragons quickly went to their bullpen and called upon Bryan Woodall. The highly versatile veteran right-hander tossed two scoreless innings as a reliever, preserving the slim 5-3 lead into the top of the eighth inning, where the Dragons added another insurance run with three consecutive singles to make it 6-3.

In the top of the ninth inning, the Dragons handed the closing job to Jake Brigham. He managed to strike out the first two batters but then immediately gave up two back-to-back singles. Despite the minor turbulence, Jake Brigham eventually recorded the final out of the game, sealing the Dragons’ victory in Game 7.

2023 Taiwan Series MVP: Hsu Jo-Hsi

After the game, the CPBL named Dragons’ Hsu Jo-Hsi the 2023 Taiwan Series MVP. The 23-year-old fireballer started Game 1 and Game 6 in this series and compiled a 0.82 ERA and 0.45 WHIP with 11 strikeouts over 11 innings.

The Dragons’ Bryan Woodall and Monkeys’ Chu Yu-Hsien won the Outstanding Players Award of the series.

Bryan Woodall made three appearances in Game 1-4-7, pitching 3-7-2 innings, respectively, and compiled a 1.50 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. Chu Yu-Hsien played all 7 games in this series and slashed .400/.444/680 with 2 home runs across 27 plate appearances.

Post-Games Quotes from GM, Managers and Players

“I’m deeply moved, grateful and amazed,” said Ding Chung-Wei, the Dragons’ general manager. “The team followed the overall 5-year plan, and with the full support of the team owner, which enabled us to keep moving forward without obstacles, we finally achieved our goals.”

“Every department within the organisation performed well. The communications between the front office and the coaching team were very smooth,” said the Dragons’ manager, Yeh Chun-Chang. “Every player was crucial in this series. We wouldn’t be able to secure the championship without their timely performances.”

“I want to dedicate my Taiwan Series MVP award to the Dragons’ medical staff and team manager for taking care of me after my Tommy John surgery. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” said Hsu Jo-Hsi, who was named the 2023 Taiwan Series MVP with his stellar pitching performance.


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