At each other’s throats again

Baltimore Sun - - MLB PLAYOFFS - By Tom Withers

Game 6: Game 7:

In­di­ans SS Francisco Lin­dor is one of the game’s ris­ing stars. He has all the tools: a sweet swing, a golden glove and a smile that can light up any ball­park. The 22-year-old plays with a youth­ful joy that will draw the TV cam­eras and na­tional au­di­ence to him as never be­fore. Liriano’s sta­tus: Lefty re­liever Francisco Liriano was re­moved from the Blue Jays ros­ter in the ALDS be­cause of a con­cus­sion sus­tained in Game 2 when a Car­los Gomez line drive struck him in the back of the head. Liriano said this week he felt fine, but he’s not el­i­gi­ble to re­turn un­til Game 2 of the ALCS. Miller time: In­di­ans man­ager Terry Fran­cona’s de­ci­sion to bring in An­drew Miller in the fifth in­ning in Game 1 of the ALDS — his ear­li­est ap­pear­ance of the sea­son — proved to be a defin­ing mo­ment as the bullpen closed out the win and the Red Sox never re­cov­ered. Fran­cona won’t hesitate to use the tal­ented lefty in a non­tra­di­tional way again. Miller hasn’t al­lowed a run in 121⁄ in­nings over eight ca­reer post­sea­son ap­pear­ances with 17 strike­outs and an .077 op­po­nents’ bat­ting av­er­age.

CLEVE­LAND — There wasn’t a bench-clear­ing brawl.

That is about the only thing that didn’t hap­pen dur­ing seven tense, the­atri­cal and highly en­ter­tain­ing reg­u­lar-sea­son games be­tween the Blue Jays and the In­di­ans, who will re­new ac­quain­tances when the AL Cham­pi­onship Series opens on Friday night.

If Oc­to­ber’s drama is any­thing close to what it was like be­tween the clubs in July and Au­gust, buckle up.

Their pre­vi­ous matchups in­cluded a 19-in­ning marathon July 1 in Toronto and a walk-off In­di­ans win Aug. 19 on back-to-back homers in the ninth in­ning, the sec­ond an in­side-thep­ark shot that turned rookie Tyler Naquin into a lo­cal leg­end.

“I was watch­ing on TV,” said Blue Jays slug­ger Jose Bautista, who was re­hab­bing a sprained left knee and missed the series in Cleve­land. “There were some games that had some quirky plays in them.”

The In­di­ans, who took the sea­son series 4-3 and swept the Red Sox in the AL Di­vi­sion Series af­ter a sea­son filled with in­juries, will start Corey Klu­ber against Marco Estrada.

Klu­ber was mag­nif­i­cent in his post­sea­son de­but, hold­ing the Red Sox to three hits in seven shutout in­nings in Game 2 of the ALDS. The right-han­der, who in­jured his quadri­ceps late in the sea­son, will have to be on his game against the Blue Jays, who hit eight home runs in their sweep of the Rangers.

“Ev­ery­body in that lineup can hurt you,” Klu­ber said. “They have a lot of power, but they’re also pa­tient.”

The Blue Jays have been in play­off mode for weeks. They bat­tled to a wild-card berth and beat the Ori­oles in the one-game play­off be­fore ad­vanc­ing to the ALCS.

Now they’ll square off with the In­di­ans, a team that may lack mar­quee names but not con­fi­dence.

“They’re a speed-and­base-hit club, and we’re a walk-and-home-run club,” Bautista said. “It’s go­ing to be a pretty good series, I be­lieve.”

PHIL LONG/AP

The In­di­ans’ Tyler Naquin, bot­tom, is mobbed af­ter his in­side-the-park home run beat the Blue Jays on Aug. 19.

Game 1: Blue Jays (Estrada 9-9) at In­di­ans (Klu­ber 18-9), 8 p.m. Friday Game 2: Blue Jays (Happ 20-4) at In­di­ans (Bauer 12-8), 4 p.m. Saturday Game 3: In­di­ans (Tom­lin 13-9) at Blue Jays (Stro­man 9-10), 8 p.m. Mon­day Game 4: In­di­ans (Clevinger 3-3) at Blue Jays (Sanchez 15-2), 4 p.m. Tues­day Game 5: In­di­ans at Blue Jays, 4 p.m. Wed. (if nec.)

Blue Jays at In­di­ans, 8 p.m. Oct. 21 (if nec.)

Blue Jays at In­di­ans, Oct. 22 (if nec.)

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