CLEVELAND — Tampa Bay’ manager Joe Maddon and Cleveland skipper Terry Francona continued their mutual admiration prior to Wednesday night’s American League wild-card game, won by the Rays, 4-0. They have met so many times over the years when Francona was with the Red Sox that the one-game playoff pitted two rivals who know each other’s styles as well as any two managers in baseball.
“You play a team 18, 19 times, it’s a lot,” Francona said prior to the game. “You know, they were good. I mean, they found a way in the American League East on a smaller payroll to compete every year. So you know they’re doing things right. They’ve made tremendous decisions. I mean, there’s a lot to respect. In one game, though, you go play and turn your players loose and hope you get to keep playing.”