Cuba’s Baseball Finals Start May 30

HAVANA TIMES, May 28 — After first announcing that the Cuban Baseball League championship series between Villa Clara and Havana Province would begin on Thursday, Cuban baseball authorities have moved the opening game date back to Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

Game one takes place at the Havana Province stadium on the outskirts of the capital. Game two is set for the same time at the same venue on Sunday.

During the regular season Havana led the Western Division with a 57-33 record. They went on to beat Isla de la Juventud four games to one in the quarterfinal playoffs and then Pinar del Rio four-to-two in the semifinals.

Villa Clara, was the hottest team in the East during the first half of the season but slumped after the break from the World Baseball Classic, finishing third place with a 53-37 record, 11 games behind Ciego de Avila and four behind Santiago de Cuba.

However, in the quarterfinals they upended the defending league champion Santiago four games to two and then finished off Ciego de Avila four-to-one for the Eastern Division title.

Havana manager Esteban Lombillo, has a star-studded pitching staff to choose from for game one including southpaw Yulieski Gonzalez, considered the most likely, and right-handers Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Yadier Pedroso y Jonder Martinez.

Villa Clara is almost certain to go with right-hander Freddy Asiel Alvarez, winner of three games in the series against Santiago and one against Ciego de Avila.

For a more in-depth look at the playoffs so far and the championship series to come read Peter C. Bjarkman’s HT Cuban baseball diary at: