KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays promise plenty of fireworks in their AL Championship Series, and not just because one team features power arms and the other power bats.
The Royals and Blue Jays already have played a contentious set of games this season, including a matchup in Toronto marked by two bench-clearing incidents. And while both sides said during Thursday's workouts that previous rancor has been forgotten, the emotionally charged atmosphere of playoff baseball means there could be some short fuses in the opener Friday night.
"It's over with. We've got to move forward," insisted the Royals' Edinson Volquez, who will start Game 1 and was arguably the biggest instigator when the teams met in August.
It was Volquez whose inside pitching drew the ire of the Blue Jays, eventually leading to the first of those bench-clearing moments. And after the game, he called Blue Jays star Josh Donaldson "a little baby" for complaining about his inside pitching.
Asked whether he intends to pitch inside again Friday night, Volquez replied: "Of course."
Royals manager Ned Yost was one word more succinct: "Absolutely."
Even if it might mean more bad blood.
"That's a power-laden club over there," Yost said. "We're going to formulate a really good game plan and try to go out and execute."
The Royals and Blue Jays were the two best teams in the American League this season.
"Obviously, that series in Toronto [earlier this year] was two competitive teams," Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "I think that's why we're here right now, because it's two teams that really take pride in doing things to protect their teammates, to show that the team has a better club."
• Wednesday's wild 53-minute seventh inning between the Blue Jays and Rangers is getting its own TV special. Fox said that it will air an hourlong program recapping the frame full of bizarre plays from Game 5 of the AL Division Series. "The Unforgettable Inning" will be hosted by former pitcher C.J. Nitkowski and broadcast at 5 p.m. on Friday on Fox Sports 1.
• Major League Baseball will review security at Toronto's Rogers Centre in an effort to prevent a repeat of the fan disturbance during Game 5 of the ALDS. Spectators littered the field with debris during an 18-minute delay.