Potent quotables: 12 pieces of bacon and a Red Bull

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“We’ll show up [Sunday], do what we always do on early games, have 12 pieces of bacon, a Red Bull and go get ’em.”



– Terry Francona reveals how the Red Sox will prepare
for a do-or-die matinee with the Angels on Sunday. Clay Buchholz will
attempt to save the season against Scott Kazmir. Kazmir was 2-2 with a
1.73 ERA in six starts with the Angels this season.




“This game can be really weird. I
never would have guessed that we would have swept those guys.”




– Casey Blake comments on his team’s unlikely sweep of the Cardinals.
Though the Dodgers had the better record during the regular season,
they had to face two legitimate Cy Young candidates to start the
series. The Dodgers managed to pull out both games. They carried that
momentum to Game 3 with a dominant effort by Vicente Padilla, who
tossed seven scoreless innings.




“I don’t like the stigma of our club getting swept. We’re a better club than that, and the series was more
competitive than that. But that’s what it is. But today wasn’t a real
good competition.”





– Tony La Russa knows his team is better than the one that showed up for the NLDS. This season marks the first time that the Cardinals have ever been swept in a Division Series or League Championship Series.



“He wasn’t a bad guy at all, as far as I was I was concerned. I didn’t
feel like he stole our money. … I went down with him. He took a lot
of crap, and so did I. I never lost my perspective on what really
happened. It was a move that didn’t work because he didn’t stay
healthy. Do I blame him for it? No I don’t I don’t think he laid down
on us.”




– Yankees general manager Brian Cashman reflects on the much-maligned Carl Pavano signing. Pavano will seek redemption against his former team on Sunday night as the Twins try to keep their season alive.

Young Blue Jays say they aren’t intimidated by top seed Rays

Blue Jays roster and schedule
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) When the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays opened the pandemic-delayed season a little over two months ago, there was little to indicate the AL East rivals might meet again to begin the playoffs.

While the Rays launched the truncated 60-game schedule with expectations of making a strong bid for their first division title in a decade, the Blue Jays generally were viewed as an immensely talented young team still years away from postseason contention.

Tampa Bay didn’t disappoint, shrugging off a slow start to go a league-best 40-20 and claim the No. 1 seed in the AL playoffs that begin Tuesday.

Lefty Blake Snell, who’ll start Game 1 of the best-of-three wild-card series against Toronto at Tropicana Field, also isn’t surprised that the eighth-seeded Blue Jays earned a spot, too.

The Rays won six of 10 games between the teams during the regular season, but were outscored 48-44 and outhomered 17-11.

And while Toronto (32-28) lacks the playoff experience Tampa Bay gained last season when the Rays beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game before falling to Houston in the divisional round, the Blue Jays are building with exciting young players such as Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“They’ve got a lot of young guys who can ball over there,” Snell said. “It’s going to be fun to compete and see how we do.”

Rays defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier said Tampa Bay, in the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the second time franchise history, will not take the Blue Jays lightly.

“We know we’re playing a real good team,” Kiermaier said. “It’s not going to be easy, regardless of what a team is seeded.”

The Blue Jays, who’ll start right-hander Matt Shoemaker, aren’t conceding anything.

Bichette said he and his teammates respect how good Tampa Bay is, but are not intimidated by facing the No. 1 seed.

“I would say that we didn’t care who we played. I would say that we didn’t mind playing Tampa, that’s for sure. We’re familiar with them. We’ve played them well,” Bichette said.

“I think we’re confident in our ability against them. Our talent matches up well,” Bichette added. “We think if we play well we’ve got a good chance.”

NO FANS

The stands at Tropicana Field will be empty, leaving players to wonder what the atmosphere will be like for the playoffs.

Tampa Bay routinely rank at or near the bottom of the majors in attendance, but usually pack the stands in the domed stadium during the postseason.

“It will be different,” Bichette said. “Normally when you think of your first postseason you think 40,000, you think about not being able to think it’s so loud, stuff like that.”

The Blue Jays open the playoffs near where they hold spring training in Dunedin, Florida. It’s been a winding road for Toronto, which played its home games in Buffalo, New York, at the site of its Triple-A affiliate after the Canadian government barred the Blue Jays from hosting games at their own stadium because of coronavirus concerns.

CONFIDENT RAYS

Tampa Bay’s five-game loss to Houston in last year’s divisional round was a source of motivation during the regular season.

“It definitely lit a fire under everybody. It really showed us we belong. … We gave them a tough series,” second baseman Brandon Lowe said.

“We won the wild-card game. We belong in the postseason. I think that did a lot for us to understand that we should be in the postseason and we can go a lot farther. We know what to expect this time around. I think everyone in our clubhouse expects to be playing until the end of October,” he said.

CLOSE FRIENDS

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has the Rays in the playoffs for the second time. His close friend and former Rays third base and bench coach Charlie Montoyo is in his second year as manager of the Blue Jays, who last made the playoffs in 2016.

“Pretty special,” Cash said of his relationship with Montoyo.

“I really learned a lot from him being around him. The way he carried himself. His hand print is throughout this organization,” Cash added. “A pretty big impact and a positive one. … When they clinched I talked to him, we face-timed at 1:30 in the morning. I’m so happy for him.”