Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sports

Potent offenses clash in AL battle

TORONTO — Whenever his Blue Jays face the Orioles, manager John Gibbons has a pretty good idea what kind of game it's going to be.

"They're normally slugfests," Gibbons said Monday as Toronto prepared to host Baltimore in tonight's American League wild-card game.

The Orioles had a majors-high 253 home runs this season, with 28 in 19 games against Toronto. The Blue Jays were fourth in baseball with 221 homers and had 29 against Baltimore.

"We're really very similar teams if you break it down," Gibbons said. "We know everything about them, they know everything about us. When you're playing a team from your division, there's really no secrets."

The challenge of controlling powerful lineups will fall on the starting pitchers. Marcus Stroman gets the nod for Toronto, with fellow right-hander Chris Tillman going for the Orioles.

"I think Stro is the perfect guy," Gibbons said. "Big game, we've seen him do it before. He did that a couple of times for us last year."

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said choosing Tillman was a "good, tough" decision.

"We had probably three options, and Chris is one of those good options," Showalter said.

Around the league

D'BACKS CLEAN HOUSE: The Diamondbacks fired general manager Dave Stewart and manager Chip Hale. The team announced that it will discuss an appropriate role for chief baseball officer Tony La Russa.

WEISS RESIGNS: Rockies manager Walt Weiss stepped down in the wake of reports that his relationship with general manager Jeff Bridich had deteriorated.

RENTERIA PROMOTED: Rick Renteria, who was let go by the Cubs after the 2014 season so they could hire Joe Maddon, was named White Sox manager after two seasons as bench coach.

PHILLIES: Hitting coach Steve Henderson was fired. The Tampa resident was the Rays' hitting coach in 1998 and from 2006-09.

TWINS: Indians executive Derek Falvey was officially named to take over baseball operations.

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