The Chinese Taipei squad will see its first action in the second round bracket against two-time defending champion Japan on Friday afternoon.
The only time these two teams have squared off was in Round one of the 2006 Classic, where Japan handed Chinese Taipei a drubbing, easily beating them 14-3. Japan will be extra motivated after losing the final game of the round one bracket to Cuba on Wednesday 6-3.
The starting pitchers haven’t been announced, but one would have to figure that Chines Taipei will counter with free agent Chien-Ming Wang, who dominated his start in the first round.
With the exception of Wang, Chinese Taipei only has two major league farm hands in the likes of Chicago Cubs 22-year old pitching prospect Yao-Lin Wang, who got lit up in his only appearance in the first round.
The second player with major league ties is Houston Astros outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin, who made his major league debut in 2012 as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Lin managed nine games with the Red Sox, recording three hits.
Chinese Taipei will need all hands on deck if they are going to compete with the teams represented from Japan and Cuba. Both teams have been power houses in the history of the tourney. If Chinese Taipei wants to be recognized on the world stage, they can get off to a good start Friday with an upset over the world champions.
This Classic is shaping up to be a tourney for the ages and we’re just getting started.
Clayton Richer covers the Toronto Blue Jays for Rant Sports. Follow and interact with him on Twitter at @MLBHotCorner.