Both Wild Card Games are now in the books, which means it is time for MLB to begin the Division Series round of the 2016 postseason. Both American League Division Series open on Thursday, with games in Arlington and Cleveland.
The first game on Thursday features the American League West champion Texas Rangers hosting the AL Wild Card-winning Toronto Blue Jays in a rematch of a wonderful five-game series from last October. Cole Hamels gets the call for Texas in Game 1 at home, with Marco Estrada on the mound for the Blue Jays.
The Rangers were 53-28 at home this season, tied for the second-best home record in the majors, and home teams won five of the seven meetings between these two teams in 2016.
The nightcap on Thursday is the Terry Francona Bowl, with his current team, the Cleveland Indians, hosting his old team, the Boston Red Sox, in Game 1 at Progressive Field. The Indians were also 53-28 at home in 2016, but dropped two of three to the Red Sox in Cleveland. Boston won the season series between the two teams, 4-2, and their 46 road wins were most in the AL.
Trevor Bauer starts Game 1 for the AL Central champion Indians, while the AL East-winning Red Sox counter with Rick Porcello.
TBS will televise the entirety of the American League playoffs, including both games on Thursday. Their coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET with MLB Postseason Pre-Game, a 30-minute lead-in with host Casey Stern and analysts Pedro Martinez, Gary Sheffield and Jimmy Rollins. That group will also be around for postgame duties after the game in Cleveland, with The Postseason Show.
All times ET
Blue Jays at Rangers, Game 1 | 4:38 p.m.
Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas
TV: TBS (Brian Anderson, Dennis Eckersley, Joe Simpson, Matt Winer)
Red Sox at Indians, Game 1 | 8:08 p.m.
Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
TV: TBS (Ernie Johnson, Ron Darling, Cal Ripken Jr., Sam Ryan)