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. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.