There’s still another round of the LIDOM playoffs left to go. In a strong final matchup, Gigantes del Cibao, seeking their first title since 2015 and only their second in franchise history, will take on the much more historically successful Águilas Cibaeñas. But there won’t be any Bronx Bombers there to join them. Miguel Andújar’s Toros del Este fell to Águilas in a thrilling seven-game set, while newest Yankee Sócrates Brito and Estrellas Orientales went down in much quieter fashion to Gigantes.
Toros Title Defense Ends
A barnstorming 2020 finally came to an end for Toros, the defending LIDOM and Caribbean Series champions. They won’t be able to defend their Caribbean title in Mazatlán this year as they fell short of another Dominican championship. Andújar and his teammates looked to be in great shape after winning the first two games of the best-of-seven set. But, they lost three in a row and after a hard-fought victory to push the series the distance, succumbed 5-1 in the deciding seventh game on Saturday.
Andújar had a productive series, finishing 8-for-29 with three RBIs and even starting the fourth game in the leadoff spot. His signature moment came with Toros facing elimination on Friday in Game 6, when he hit second. Following Abraham Almonte’s leadoff strikeout, Andújar came to the plate and took a 2-2 Yoanner Negrin offering deep to left field for a solo home run.
— Toros Del Este (@TorosdelEste) January 8, 2021
While that blast led to a win, Toros couldn’t get it done the following night. With the season over for his team, Andújar’s winter comes to a close and he turns his attention to the upcoming MLB season. It was an odd season for the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year runner-up. A dreadful first few games led to a month-long benching, but Andújar returned in fine form to close out the regular season and then contributed in key spots during the playoffs. It was a successful winter vacation overall.
Estrellas Bow Out in Six
Gigantes was the heavy favorite in this series, but Estrellas made the series interesting, led by their hired guns Fernando Tatís Jr. and Robinson Cano. After dropping the first three games to dig themselves into what ended up an insurmountable hole, Estrellas won the next two to stay alive. They lost Game 6 by a 5-3 margin to conclude the season. No game of the series was decided by more than two runs.
Brito was a key contributor throughout, finishing 8-for-21 with three walks and a run batted in. He’ll join the Yankees in Tampa for spring camp, hoping to compete with a cavalcade of other outfielders for a bench spot.
News and Notes
Luis Medina has earned some recognitions for his outstanding winter season in Puerto Rico. Indios de Mayagüez announced Sunday that he has been named Pitcher of the Year for the LBPRC. Medina, who spent last season at the alternate site in Scranton, will be a prospect worth watching during the 2021 minor league season.