St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny confirmed before Wednesday's workout at Busch Stadium that John Lackey will be his Game 1 starter on Friday.

"He's been as consistent as anybody in the league," Matheny said of the righthander. "The fact he's been able to be on this stage, has had success on this stage, there are so many different things that he's brought to this club this year that makes it a pretty obvious choice."

In 17 starts at home this season, Lackey is 9-4 with a 1.93 ERA.

Rios finally makes it

For all that Royals outfielder Alex Rios has encountered in the game, he'll witness something else he's never seen before when his team begins postseason play on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium.

That would be himself as part of a playoff game, thus ending the longest drought among active players.

The closest he's come before was playing for Texas in a Game 163 in 2013.

Rios, 34, has played in 1,691 regular-season games in 12 seasons.

Twins TV ratings

The Twins had the 10th-highest viewership among major league teams on regional sports networks this past season, according to Fox Sports North.

After several years of declining viewership, the Twins had a 4.12 average household rating, making them the No. 1 show on cable and No. 3 in prime time in the Twin Cities market. The Twins-Royals game on Oct. 2 earned a 7.1 rating, making it Fox Sports North's highest post-All Star break rating since 2010.

One rating point equates to 17,280 households, meaning that more than 71,000 Minneapolis-St. Paul households watched Twins games on a nightly basis.

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