HAVANA, Cuba, Jan 26 (ACN) Following the measures implemented in Cuba to combat COVID-19, the baseball teams that qualified to the play offs will see action in two bubbles from this Tuesday in the Cienfuegos and Santi Spiritus provinces.
The 60th National baseball series play offs begin with the interesting duels Las Tunas-Santiago de Cuba and Granma-Industriales, the first one at the 5 de Septiembre stadium in Cienfuegos city, in a matchup of eastern teams that, in post-seasons, historically favors 3-0 to the Santiago team, which in the qualifying phase of the current series came out 4-1.
Today's game will be the first matchup between two pitchers with a whopping 12 wins: the left-handed Yudier Rodriguez (LTU) with a good repertoire and excellent control, and the fast right-hander Carlos Font (SCU), who knows how to hit pitches to take power away from the Tunas line-up capable of hitting 70 home runs in the first stage.
Las Tunas finished second in batting average (323), but was ninth in pitching (5.96) and thirteenth in defense with a pale average of 970, while Santiago de Cuba was fifth in pitching (306), sixth in pitching (5.02) and tenth in defense (973).
In the other duel of this inaugural date, Granma and Industriales will face each other at the José Antonio Huelga stadium, which in the previous encounter between the two in the elimination stage was 3-2 in favor of the disciples of the seasoned mentor Carlos Martí.
The experienced left-hander Leandro Martínez (GRA), who moves the ball very well with his slow pitches to the corners of the plate, and the young right-hander Brian Chi, who has recovered from the injury suffered in the first phase and his deliveries already show more velocity, are announced to start.
Granma finished second in the tournament in defense (976) and third in batting and pitching with averages of 314 and 4.34, respectively. Meanwhile, the Leones, plagued by injuries since the beginning and with several COVID-19 cases in their ranks, finished fourth in defense (975), seventh from the mound (5.03) and tenth in batting (295).
Among others, Granma will include in its roster slugger Alfredo Despaigne, who played in the Japanese league, and first baseman Guillermo Avilés, who played in Venezuelan baseball, while Industriales will bet on the power of Lisban Correa, leader in home runs (28) and runs batted in (82) and on their good bunch of left-handed hitters.
The postseason history between the two favors Industriales with a record of eight wins without the shadow of a setback.