KANSAS CITY -- The Royals are headed to the American League Championship Series for the second straight season, and they will be facing the Blue Jays, who won three straight games over the Rangers to advance to the ALCS for the first time since 1993.
The two clubs ran away with their respective divisions during the regular season, with the Royals winning 95 games to lead the AL Central by 12 games and the Blue Jays winning 93 games to top the AL East by six games. The series, which starts Friday in Kansas City (7:30 p.m. ET, FOX), is a rematch of the 1985 ALCS that was won by the Royals in seven games.
The two teams also have a history with each other this season, as Edinson Volquez, who is expected to start Game 1 of the series for Kansas City, plunked Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson in a loss on Aug. 2 and said after the game that Donaldson was crying "like a baby." The benches later cleared in that game after Blue Jays reliever Aaron Sanchez hit Alcides Escobar with a pitch, and Sanchez was tossed from the game.
Hall of Famer George Brett said after the Royals' series-clinching victory over the Astros on Wednesday that both teams won't forget that game.
"I think it was a couple pitches up and in to Donaldson, and it kind of was blown out proportion a little bit, but they don't forget that stuff," Brett said. "They won't forget it and I don't think we will either. I don't think there's going to be a beanball war in a playoff game. But believe me, they know what was said after the games, and they remember what happened in the regular season."
Volquez took the high road Wednesday, complimenting Toronto, but he said having home-field advantage is important for Kansas City, as it plays in spacious Kauffman Stadium. The Blue Jays led the Majors with 232 homers, but Kauffman Stadium had the fifth-fewest homers hit there during the regular season.
"We all know they have a pretty good team," Volquez said. "It won't be easy. We're going to do our best. But it's a little different here. It's a bigger ballpark. Toronto, it's a little bit smaller. So I just have to make good pitches."
The Royals went 3-4 against the Blue Jays during the regular season, winning two out of three at home from July 10-12, but losing three out of four in Toronto from July 30-Aug. 2. The key will be containing the Blue Jays' high-scoring offense, as they led the Majors with 891 runs scored, which was 127 more runs than any other team.
"We have to be ready to go, because we understand that's a tough lineup to face," center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. "All the way around, they're a really solid team. It's not going to be easy and we're going to have our hands full, but we'll be ready to go."