By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, March 21 — The regular 90-game Cuban baseball season comes to an end this week and the eight teams to compete in the quarterfinal playoffs are already determined. Industriales, last year’s league champions were eliminated as well as their perennial rival Santiago de Cuba.
In the Western (Occidente) Division, Cienfuegos had their best season in a long time and breezed to a first place finish. The other three playoff slots go to Sancti Spiritus, Pinar del Rio and La Habana. The teams whose season comes to an end on Thursday are Industriales, Metropolitanos, Matanzas and Isla de la Juventud.
In the Eastern (Oriente) Division, Ciego de Avila repeated in first place with the other three playoff tickets going to Guantanamo, Granma and last season’s runner-up league champions Villa Clara.
Jose Dariel Abreu (Cienfuegos) is the sure winner of the batting title. With three games to go he has a whopping .444 average ahead of Sancti Spiritus slugger Frederich Cepeda who is hitting .403 and Michel Enriquez (Isla de la Juventud) is at .393.
Yoenis Cespedes of Granma leads the long ball stats with 32 homers followed by Jose Dariel Abreu with 30 and Joan Carlos Pedroso (Las Tunas) and Frederich Cepeda with 28.
Cespedes also leads in RBIs with 97 followed by William Saavedra (Pinar del Rio) and Jose Dariel Abreu (86).
Freddy Asiel Alvarez (Villa Clara) leads all pitchers with a 1.69 ERA followed by Ismel Jimenez (Sancti Spiritus) and Noelvis Entenza (Cienfuegos) both with 2.53.
Norberto Gonzalez (Cienfuegos) and Ismel Jimenez share the lead for most wins with 13, followed by Yoelkis Cruz (Las Tunas) and Ciro Silvino Licea (Granma) with 11.
Duniel Ibara (Cienfuegos) leads the league with 26 saves to 19 by Yormani Socarras (Camaguey).
Odrisamer Despaigne of Industriales leads with 96 strikeouts followed by Noelvis Entenza (Cienfuegos) and Misael Silvero (Villa Clara) with 94.
Standings including games of March 20, 2011
|Teams (Western Division)||W||L||GB|
|Pinar del Rio||48||38||7.5|
|Isla de la Juventud||33||53||22.5|
|Teams (Eastern Division)||W||L||GB|
|Ciego de Avila||54||33||—|
|Santiago de Cuba||43||44||11.0|