HAVANA TIMES, Feb. 21 — With less than a third of the 90-game season to be played traditional Cuban baseball powerhouses are struggling to stay in the race for a playoff ticket.
In the Western Division, last year’s league champions, Industriales, are in fifth place 7.5 behind leader Cienfuegos. Nonetheless they are only 1.5 games out of third (La Habana) and a half game out of fourth (Sancti Spiritus). The first four teams reach the quarterfinal playoffs.
In the Eastern Division, last season’s runner-ups, Villa Clara, are in fourth place 5.5 games behind leader Guantanamo. The perennial powerhouse, Santiago de Cuba, has dropped to a tie for sixth place 9.0 games out of first and 3.5 games behind fourth place Villa Clara.
A full schedule of games begins on Tuesday. In an attractive series of playoff contenders, Granma hosts La Habana; Pinar del Rio travels to Holguin; Industriales has a tough rival playing in Ciego de Avila; Villa Clara should have an easy go at home vs. Matanzas; Las Tunas travels to Sancti Spiritus; Camaguey faces a tough challenge on the road against Cienfuegos; Guantanamo travels to the Isla de la Juventud and Santiago de Cuba is the visitor against Metropolitanos.
Standings including games of Feb. 21, 2011
|Teams (Western Division)||W||L||GB|
|Pinar del Rio||37||26||4.0|
|Isla de la Juventud||26||37||15.0|
|Teams (Eastern Division)||W||L||GB|
|Ciego de Avila||37||26||1.0|
|Santiago de Cuba||29||34||9.0|