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2016 American League Division Series: Hello Again

[lead align=”default”]The 2016 American League Division Series matchups feature old foes in a new postseason.[/lead]

Much will be made of the nuances of these two series on the field, but just as much for the elements outside of actual game play. Texas and Toronto, Boston and Cleveland all know each other well, and for at least two of those teams, the sight of the other draws ire.

2016 American League Division Series: Boston vs. Cleveland

This is the last rodeo of David Ortiz, and in the first round, he meets his old skipper, Terry Francona.

The last times these teams met in the playoffs, Francona managed the Red Sox to an American League pennant in 2007. Cleveland led that series 3-1, but in Cleveland fashion, lost the series in seven.

These are two very different teams in 2016 in terms of players, though it may not look that way in terms of results. The Red Sox have the best offense in baseball now and the third-fewest runs allowed in the American League. The 2007 world champions had the best pitching staff in the AL, and well as one of the highest-scoring offenses.

Cleveland has the second-highest scoring offense in the AL this year — but still over 100 runs fewer than Boston. Meanwhile, the Indians’ pitching remains strong. That Tribe team featured the likes of CC Sabathia, Roberto Hernandez (erstwhile Fausto Carmona), and Rafael Betancourt. Today, it’s more like Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Cody Allen, but the results are there.

Expect a dramatic series that could go the distance, just like in 2007.

2016 American League Division Series: Texas vs. Toronto

These two teams faced off in the 2015 ALDS, with Toronto taking it in five. In fact, Texas led that series 2-0, only to lose three straight in dramatic fashion.

Oh, what drama, you ask? Here was the seventh inning of Game 5:

Perhaps the craziest inning of playoff baseball one will ever see, but the bad blood did not end there. This was just earlier this season:

Why, one might get the idea these two teams don’t like each other. Now the Rangers and Blue Jays hook up again with the season on the line. Most likely, a very entertaining series on its way.

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