The Granma Alazanes can run away with the Cuban National Series Final advantage with a Game 3 win on Wednesday. Although Granma entered as the higher seed and technically might be favoured, many expected Matanzas to repeat as champions. The 60th Cuban National Series regular season identified the playoff teams but might have meant less for seeding than any before. The changes to scheduling mean that many of the teams that played in the regular season do not represent the roster competing in the playoffs.
Matanzas held their own during the regular season. This was despite many key pieces being lent out to pro leagues largely across Central and South America. They have returned to as close to full compliment as possible, convincing many they should be the favourites. Granma on the other hand is missing at least one key piece in Alfredo Despaigne. He is their feared slugger playing in Japan. But thanks to Solid starting pitching and timely hitting are now up 2-0 in the Series.
Game two had the opportunity to get out of hand early. Granma put Cocodrilos starter Noelvis Entenza on his heels in each of the first two innings. He was the victim of lacking control, some bad hops and a few well placed hits. He did enough to keep Matanzas in the game though. As has been the case, veteran starters are given leash to work their way through trouble. His line won’t appear impressive. But he did battle through five innings and despite giving up five runs, only two were earned and he left with a no decision in pocket.
Granma led early and at the end which is all that matters. An early three run lead was erased by a big Ariel Sanchez game tying home run. The squads would stay tied late into the contest. The Alazanes would go ahead for good on a clutch eight inning home run by Raico Santos. They would hold on to cement the 2-0 series lead.