HAVANA TIMES, January 19 – One week away from the half way mark in the current Cuban Baseball Season, the two division leaders are distancing themselves from the field. In the West, La Habana (25-13) won two of three (3-6, 6-3, 5-3) over the weekend against Camaguey (22-17), while in the East, Villa Clara (31-7) swept its series (7-4, 6-1, 1-0) over Sancti Spiritus (15-23).
La Habana is now six games up on second place Pinar del Rio (19-19) which lost its series (7-13, 5-1, 1-2) to Guantanamo (15-22). Yulieski Gonzalez won his fifth game against one loss for La Habana.
Metropolitanos (18-21) are now a surprise third place in the West 7.5 games back, after taking two of three (20-18, 6-2, 3-9) from Granma (15-24). Pinar del Rio managed only one win against Guantanamo (15-22) but it was the league leading seventh victory for Yunieski Maya, who is hoping to make a spot on the Cuban 2nd World Baseball Classic team.
Industriales, the pride and joy of the Cuban capital continues to struggle. The team lost two of its key players pitcher Yadel Marti and outfielder Yasser Gomez before the season and several others have been out with injuries. After losing three games (5-4, 8-1, 5-2) to Las Tunas (19-20) they are now tied for fourth, nine games out.
Villa Clara, managed by Eduardo Martin Saura, made it 11 straight wins on Sunday completing its series sweep over Sancti Spiritus and now leads Holguin and Ciego de Avila, both 25-14, by 6.5 games. Holguin won the final two games of its weekend series with Matanzas (14-25) by scores of 2-4, 8-5 and 6-2. Meanwhile, Ciego de Avila won two of three (2-13, 9-5, 9-3) against lowly Cienfuegos (9-29).
In the other weekend series, defending champions Santiago de Cuba (23-15, 8 games out) continued to show promise after a slow season start by sweeping Isla de la Juventud (16-22) by scores of 15-0, 3-1 and 11-8.