2021-22 Dominican Winter League Finals Preview

The Dominican Winter League finals begin tonight, with the Gigantes del Cibao taking on the Estrellas Orientales.

Fans can watch every game in the best-of-seven series live on MLB.TV, including Game 1 at the Estrellas’ Estadio Tetelo Vargas right now.

Here’s what you need to know about the LIDOM Serie final.

The Gigantes and the Estrellas
The Gigantes went 23-17 in the regular season to finish in first place among six LIDOM teams. The Estrellas, who are led by former big leaguer Fernando Tatis Sr., went 22-18 to finish second.

Both teams reached the final coming out of the first leg of the round robin playoffs, which consisted of the top four teams in the standings, including Tigres del Licey and Aguilas Cibaeñas.

The Gigantes won their only LIDOM championship in the 2014-15 season. They reached the final last winter, but they lost to Aguilas. The Estrellas are three-time LIDOM champions, having won most recently in 2018-19.

Who are the starters of Game 1?
Southpaw Andy Otero started Game 1 for the Estrellas. Left-hander Raúl Valdés received the call from the Gigantes.

Otero went 3-0 with a 1.79 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings in eight starts this Dominican Winter League season. Valdés was 2-3 with a 2.85 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 47 1/3 innings in nine starts. Valdés pitched for last-place Toros del Este during the regular season, but at LIDOM players from both teams who don’t make the playoffs can be drafted by post-season teams before the round-robin begins .

The Gigantes also announced their rotation for the first three games – left-hander Tyler Alexander will start Game 2 and right-hander Elian Leyva will start Game 3.

Who are some of the best players?
Here are some of the players who have led the Gigantes and Estrellas this season:

The Gigantes have left-handed hitter Juan Francisco, who spent six major league seasons from 2009 to 2014. Francisco is tied for the league lead with four homers this season, and he led LIDOM with 27 RBIs. He also homered twice in the round robin portion of the playoffs. The Gigantes also have league-leading this year in hits, Hanser Alberto, who batted 53 .321 in the regular season and had a team-high 18 round-robin hits. .

The Estrellas have Fernando Rodney, closer to MLB, in their bullpen after picking him up from Leones del Escogido in the pre-playoff draft. Now 44, Rodney has pitched in 17 games with a 3.38 ERA and 11 strikeouts in the regular season and made five appearances for the Estrellas in the first round of the playoffs. Former Cubs outfielder Junior Lake is the mainstay of the Estrellas roster — he hit .262 with three homers and 11 RBIs during the regular season, and he hit .351 with one homer and 11 RBIs in the preliminary round.

How to watch the matches
Games will be broadcast live on MLB.TV. The broadcasts are in Spanish.

The teams alternate the home court for each game in the series, with the Estrellas hosting Games 1, 3, 5 and 7 at the Estadio Tetelo Vargas and the Gigantes hosting Games 2, 4 and 6 at the Estadio Julián Javier.

Here is the match schedule:

Game 1 (Gigantes at Estrellas) – Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET
Game 2 (Estrellas at Gigantes) – Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET
Game 3 (Gigantes at Estrellas) – Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET
Game 4 (Estrellas at Gigantes) – Friday at 4 p.m. ET

If necessary
Game 5 (Gigantes at Estrellas) – Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET
Game 6 (Estrellas at Gigantes) – Sunday at 4 p.m. ET
Game 7 (Gigantes at Estrellas) – January 24 at 4 p.m. ET

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