Mission Cap of the Night: Ray Chang.
Tonight, I stayed up to watch the China vs Chinese Teipei elimination World Baseball Classic matchup. I am very tempted to take a nap and wake up for 4:30am and watch the Japan vs Korea game. Daisuke Matsuzaka is slated to pitch in this undefeated game. Back to our MCotN. None of the players in the game really impressed me except for the Chinese shortstop, Raymond Chang. He was born in Kansas City and is an American citizen, but his parents were born and raised in China. Chang was never drafted and was signed by the San Diego Padres in an open try out. He finished the 2008 season with AA Altoona in the East League.
Tonight, Chang earned his mission cap for single handedly beating Chinese Teipei and keeping China alive in the WBC. In the first inning, the shortstop made a diving play up the middle and threw the runner out from his knees. The rest of the game, he continued to make effortless plays. At the plate, he had a single, a double over the left fielder’s head and a home run in the 8th. All of this with minimal support from the back of the lineup. In fact, as I watched the game, I concluded that the Chinese cleanup hitter (Chang hit 3rd), was the worst hitter on the team.
Chang really impressed me tonigt. I did not expect to see anyone of his calibre play tonight. He may not ever make it to the majors, but he definitly sealed his place in Chinese baseball. With his performance so far, there is no question that he is making a strong bid for tournament All-Star.
For the Chinese Teipei, Che-Hsuan Lin, a Boston Red Sox farmhand was also very impressive.