The 2016 American League Championship Series features two teams with long waits since last reaching the World Series. This best-of-7 series will end a long drought for either the Toronto Blue Jays or Cleveland Indians, who open their showdown on Friday night at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
The Blue Jays are in the ALCS for a second straight season, but are looking for their first trip to the World Series since winning back-to-back championships in 1992-93. The Indians are in the ALCS for the first time since 2007, and are seeking their first Fall Classic trip since 1997.
Cleveland last won the World Series in 1948.
The American League Central champion Indians (94-67) have home-field advantage over the Wild Card-winning Blue Jays (89-73). The Indians won four of the seven matchups between the two teams during the regular season, including taking two of three games in Cleveland from Aug. 19-21. They split four games in Toronto from June 30 to July 3.
Both teams swept their way through the American League Division Series, with Cleveland eliminating the Red Sox and the Blue Jays sending the Rangers packing. In addition, Toronto beat the Orioles in the American League Wild Card Game.
Corey Kluber gets the call in the series opener for Cleveland, followed by Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Indians manager Terry Francona said on Wednesday that Mike Clevinger would likely start Game 4, depending on his possible usage out of the bullpen in the first few games of the series.
Marco Estrada will start Game 1 for the Blue Jays. He is 3-1 with a 1.95 ERA in four postseason starts for Toronto since the start of the 2015 playoffs, including pitching into the ninth inning in a win at Texas in Game 1 of the ALDS on Oct. 6.
"All I know, you look back at the last couple of years, how good Marco has been for us in big games, playoff games, and really two straight years of regular-season games," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.
TBS will televise the ALCS, with Ernie Johnson on play-by-play joined in the booth by analysts Ron Darling and Cal Ripken Jr., plus reporter Sam Ryan on the broadcast as well.
MLB has announced game times for both Championship Series through Monday, with the ALCS getting the day game on Saturday and the NLCS in prime time. Start times for the rest of the series will be announced at a later date.
All times ET
Game 1: Friday, Oct. 14: Blue Jays at Indians, 8:08 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 15: Blue Jays at Indians, 4:08 p.m.
Game 3: Monday, Oct. 17: Indians at Blue Jays, 8:08 p.m.
Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 18: Indians at Blue Jays, TBD
Game 5*: Wednesday, Oct. 19: Indians at Blue Jays, TBD
Game 6*: Friday, Oct. 21: Blue Jays at Indians, TBD
Game 7*: Saturday, Oct. 22: Blue Jays at Indians, TBD