LIDOM: Estrellas Take Game 1 Of Finals Behind Strong Bullpen Effort

By Julian Guilarte
World Baseball Network
Jan. 14, 2023

The LIDOM championship started off with a bang when Jeimer Candelario hit a two-run home run in the top of the first inning to give Estrellas a 2-0 lead in game one of the LIDOM championship series.

And while Licey answered back right away with a two-run home run by Jorge Alfaro that was smoked down the left field line in the bottom of the first, it would be all the Tigres could muster, as they were unable to solve Estrellas pitching the rest of the game, falling 5-2.

Alfaro’s shot was his third home run of the season. Licey had just four hits on the game coupled with those two runs. Emilio Bonifacio and New York Mets infield prospect Ronny Mauricio were held hitless.

Candelario struggled with the Toros hitting under .100 in 42 at-bats during the regular season. Since joining Estrellas, he had 25 hits under 60 at-bats. Last night he hit his third home run and drove in his ninth run of his LIDOM season. Candelario is looking to bounce back with the Washington Nationals after having a rough year with the Detroit Tigers. The Nationals signed him for one year of $5 million.

Licey’s starter César Valdez didn’t have his best stuff, giving up two runs and three hits in the first inning. Henry Urrutia and Robinson Cano both had hits in the inning. Urrutia and Cano also got to him in the third with one hit and RBI each. They would both end up with three hits on the night. Valdez went 4.1 innings allowed four runs. 

The pitching for Licey was spot on after the hiccup by Andy Otero in the first. Otero settled in, striking out six over 4.1 innings. Oliver Perez contributed by getting two outs, and the five members of the bullpen – Roman Mendez, Raffi Vizcaíno, Wirfin Obispo, Chester Pimentel, and Ronel Blanco – combined to keep Licey off the board.

Licey will look to rebound in game two tonight. The pitching matchup is Carlos Hernandez for Estrellas and Raul Valdes for Licey. Hernandez was 1-2 with an ERA of 1.69 in 10 games with the Toros. Valdes started his season with the Toros going 2-4 with an ERA of 3.69. He was lights out with Licey, giving up six runs in 26 innings. 

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