LIVE: Dominican Winter League finals

Best-of-7 series between Gigantes del Cibao, Estrellas Orientales begins tonight

January 17th, 2022

The Dominican Winter League finals start tonight, with the Gigantes del Cibao facing off against the Estrellas Orientales.

Fans can watch all the games of 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 the six LIDOM teams. The Estrellas, who are managed by former big leaguer Fernando Tatis Sr., went 22-18 to finish second.

The two teams reached the finals by advancing out of the first round-robin playoff stage, which was made up 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 finals last winter, but they lost to Aguilas. The Estrellas are three-time LIDOM champions, having most recently won in 2018-19.

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

Otero went 3-0 with a 1.79 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings over eight starts this Dominican Winter League season. Valdés was 2-3 with a 2.85 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 47 1/3 innings over nine starts. Valdés pitched for the last-place Toros del Este during the regular season, but in LIDOM, players from the two teams who don't make the playoffs can be drafted by the postseason teams before round-robin play 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 top players?
Here are some of the players who have led the Gigantes and Estrellas this season:

The Gigantes have lefty slugger Juan Francisco, who spent six seasons in the Major Leagues from 2009-14. Francisco tied for the league lead with four home runs this season, and he led LIDOM with 27 RBIs. He also homered twice in the round-robin part of the playoffs. The Gigantes also have this year's league leader in hits, Hanser Alberto, who collected 53 while batting .321 in the regular season and had a team-high 18 hits in round-robin play.

The Estrellas have longtime MLB closer Fernando Rodney in their bullpen after picking him up from Leones del Escogido in the pre-playoff draft. Now 44 years old, Rodney pitched 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 anchors the Estrellas' lineup -- he batted .262 with three home runs and 11 RBIs during the regular season, and he batted .351 with one homer and 11 RBIs in round-robin play.

How to watch the games
The games will be streamed live on MLB.TV. Broadcasts are in Spanish.

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

This is the schedule of games:

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) -- Jan. 24 at 4 p.m. ET