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Rays manager Joe Maddon and Indians skipper Terry Francona continued their mutual admiration prior to Wednesday night’s American League wild-card game. 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. “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,” Francona said prior to the game.