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CNS Roundup: Last Week of the 60th NS, 10 Teams with Play Offs Chances. Players of the Week and more

A month has passed since my last post and, with only one week left in the schedule of the 60 th Cuban National Series - considering the new series that started today -, there is a lot to decide for the upcoming 2021 CNS Postseason. Ten teams are still with chances of making the cut to the Cuban Play Offs. Surprisingly, Granma and Sancti Spíritus are now leading the tournament, both tied in first place with an identical 42-25 record. Meanwhile, Las Tunas is just two games behind, and four other teams follow: Matanzas and Cienfuegos, three games back, and Camagüey and Santiago de Cuba, 5 GB. Pinar del Río, five and a half games back, will be the last qualifier if the season would end today. Besides the top eight teams there are two others, Industriales and Mayabeque, with still chances of making it to the following and decisive round. Industriales has been lacking good pitching and is now positioned in “zona de eliminación”, but just ½ game behind Pinar. The bad news for the team is that because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent 11 cases that have been identified on the team, they will not play again until January, when the season will resume play with all pending games. In the other hand, a surprising Mayabeque is not far either, just one game away of Industriales and 1 ½ behind Pinar. If you ask me, I do believe Pinar del Río and Industriales are the teams with more opportunities to make it to the 2021 Cuban Play Offs. Pinar is the only team with still 15 games to play, a clear advantage, while Industriales has 12 games pending, including two against Pinar. Are we going to know the eight teams that will advance to the postseason before the end of the year? Absolutely no. While the top 5 teams most likely will secure their ticket when the qualifying calendar ends on December 27th, the following three to advance will not be easy to predict, and fans will have to wait until beginning of January 2021, when all pending games are finally celebrated. Highlights of the last four weeks: 45-Game Hitting Streak: César Prieto Set a New Record 21-year-old second baseman César Prieto, from the Cienfuegos Elephants, who on November 21 broke Rey Isaac’s 1994 Cuban record of 37-game hitting streak, on November 28 set the new record at 45 GHS. Prieto saw his streak broke against Granma’s pitchers Erluis Blanco and Kelbis Rodríguez, when he went 0-for-5 in the game. Here is the sequence of his at bat in a game that his team lost 6-2: 1 INN – 43 2 INN – F7 5 INN – F8 7 INN – 63 9 INN – 3U According to our senior writer Yirsandy Rodríguez , since September 19 when the streak started, 69 days passed, 222 plate appearances and 11 Saturdays. Prieto’s batting average during the streak was .432 (45-83) and his offensive line was .432/.486/.604 (AVG/OBP/SLG). The second baseman faced 84 pitchers during the stretch and was successful against 63 for a sensational 75%. Yirsandy also adds that, Prieto was so consistent that he was able to have 27 multi-hits games, securing - during those games - 78% of his 222 PA. Prieto got on base in 50 consecutive games during the streak, a sensational feat in this era of on-base performances. Even when the Cuban National Series level is not the same than 10 years ago, Prieto deserves all credit for this spectacular feat in Cuban seasons, an achievement that will be extremely difficult to break. Ciego’s RHP Luis Alberto Marrero throws third “no-hitter” of 2020 NS Season It looks like this 60th NS is made for no-hitter performances. The last time the Cuban National Series had three no-hitters was 20 years ago, during the 39 NS (1999-2000). This year, after the ones completed by righthanders Arnaldo Rodríguez and Noelvis Entenza, RHP from Ciego de Ávila, Luis Alberto Marrero, completed the third no-hitter of the season on November 26th against Artemisa. It was a shortened game, only 5 innings, and where the Mercy Rule for teams winning by at least 15 runs after 5 innings was applied. Marrero got offensive support from his team, that had 16 hits including 7 doubles and two triples, to complete his 5 innings of work. The final score was 15-0. Marrero strikeout two and had no walks in a game that lasted only 1 hour and 37 minutes. It was the fourth no-hitter in franchise history for Ciego and second this year. Some Feats During the Past Month 12/20 : Las Tunas’ outfielder Héctor Castillo hit by the cycle against Santiago de Cuba in 18-6 win at Guillermón Moncada Stadium in Santiago. Castillo went 4-for-5 during the game with 2-RBIs. 12/20 : César Prieto set a new record for most singles in a 75-games season. Prieto went 3-for-5 against Isla de la Juventud for his 118th hit of the year, breaking Amado Zamora's record of 115 from 1985 during the 24 CNS. 12/19 : Isla de la Juventud’ infielder Luis Felipe Rivera reached the 2000 hits mark in National Series to become the 26th hitter in the 2000 Hit Club in Cuban NS. 12/16 : Sancti Spíritus’ veteran outfielder Frederich Cepeda hits his 400th career double in National Series. Cepeda reached the milestone against Camagüey’s RHP Yosimar Cousin. Doing so, Cepeda became the only hitter in NS history with 400 doubles, 300 homeruns, and 2000 hits. 12/10 : Denis Laza of the Mayabeque Huracanes reaches 1,000-hit mark in Mayabeque 8-3 loss against Industriales at Latinoamericano Stadium. 12/05 : RHP Jorge Hernández of the Cienfuegos Elefantes beat Matanzas 12-2 notching the longest period of time between National Series wins – 7 years, 1 month, 1 day. 12/05 : Lisbán Correa of the Industriales Leones became the 2nd Industriales player with more homeruns in a season with 22 passing Kendrys Morales fantastic 21 HRs mark during his rookie 2002 Cuban season (41 NS). 11/28 : Against RHP Erluis Blanco and Kelbis Rodríguez of Granma, César Prieto had his 45-GHS halted. Prieto went 0-for-5 in a Cienfuegos 6-2 loss. 11/26 : Ciego’ RHP Luis Alberto Marrero tossed the 60th no-no in National Series history. Marrero completed his feat against Artemisa in a 15-0 - 5 innings Mercy Rule game – win at José Ramón Cepero Stadium in Ciego de Ávila. 11/26 : Cienfuegos’ second baseman César Prieto set a record of 45-games hitting streak against Holguín. Players of the Weeks I understand I am behind on this list, but I do not want to forget the names of all players that, since November 19th, has been awarded Player of the Week . Here are the four players selected during this period: Week of Nov 21-25 : 2B-César Prieto (Cienfuegos) -.385 AVG/.952 OPS/3 2B/6 R/6 RBI plus a new record of 45 games hitting streak Week of Nov 28-Dec 3 : 1B-Guillermo Avilés (Granma) - .611 AVG/1.953 OPS/3 HR/13 RBI/8 BB Week of Dec 5-10 : RHP-César García (Granma) – 2 W/17 IP/1.59 ERA/10 SO Week of Dec 12-17 : 3B-Juan Miguel Soriano (Cienfuegos) - .471 AVG/1.180 OPS/HR/9 RBI Season’s Leaders Batting Batting Average : César Prieto (Cienfuegos) .411 (118 H – 287 AB) Home Runs : Lisbán Correa (Industriales) 25 Runs Batted In : Guillermo Avilés (Granma) 74 Stolen Bases : Magdiel Gómez (Villa Clara) 21 Runs : César Prieto (Cienfuegos) 71 On-Base Percentage : Frederich Cepeda (Sancti Spíritus) .556 Pitching Earned Run Average : Lázaro Blanco (Granma) 2.01 (62.2 IP-14 ER) Strikeouts : Frank Madan (Camagüey) 97 Wins : Frank Madan (Camagüey) 12 Saves : Yunior Tur (Santiago de Cuba) 13 Upcoming Series (Dec 22-24) 1 pm (ET) – José R. Cepero Stadium – Camagüey @ Ciego de Ávila 1 pm (ET) – Victoria de Girón Stadium – Villa Clara @ Matanzas 1 pm (ET) – José A. Huelga Stadium – Las Tunas @ Sancti Spíritus 1 pm (ET) – Calixto García Stadium – Guantánamo @ Holguín 1 pm (ET) – Mártires de Barbados Stadium – Santiago de Cuba @ Granma 1 pm (ET) – Cristóbal Labra Stadium – Pinar del Río @ Isla de la Juventud 1 pm (ET) – Nelson Fernández Stadium – Cienfuegos @ Mayabeque Upcoming Series (Dec 26-27) 1 pm (ET) – Capitán San Luis Stadium – Villa Clara @ Pinar del Río 1 pm (ET) – Cristóbal Labra Stadium – Mayabeque @ Isla de la Juventud 1 pm (ET) – Cándido González Stadium – Granma @ Camagüey 1 pm (ET) – 26 de Julio Stadium – Cienfuegos @ Artemisa 1 pm (ET) – José A. Huelga Stadium – Santiago de Cuba @ Sancti Spíritus 1 pm (ET) – José R. Cepero Stadium – Guantánamo @ Ciego de Ávila 1 pm (ET) – Julio A. Mella Stadium – Holguín @ Las Tunas (Photos César Prieto, Frederich Cepeda, and Lisbán Correa/Aslám Castellón, Oscar Alfonso, and Ricardo López Hevia)

A month has passed since my last post and, with only one week left in the schedule of the 60th Cuban National Series - considering the...

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