Marco Estrada will get the start for Toronto on Friday when the Blue Jays visit Cleveland for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons made the announcement Tuesday afternoon before the team’s workout at Rogers Centre.
“I think he was the logical choice,” Gibbons said. “We could have gone with anybody and felt good. But he’s been so good in that role and then we’ll just shape it after him in these next couple days.”
Estrada was brilliant for Toronto in the opener of the American League Division Series last Thursday in Texas. The right-hander allowed one earned run, four hits and no walks over 8 1/3 innings in a 10-1 win.
The Indians also swept their way to the ALCS, wrapping things up Monday night with a Game 3 victory in Boston.
“A tough ball club to shut down and they’re hot like us too,” Gibbons said. “They ended up finishing really strong in winning the home-field advantage and then they swept Boston so they’re playing really good too right now.”
Estrada shines in playoffs
Estrada is 3-1 with a 2.67 earned-run average in eight career post-season appearances. He posted a 9-9 mark in the regular season with a 3.48 ERA.
Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis said his sore right knee is feeling better and he expects to be ready for Game 1. Left-hander Francisco Liriano, who suffered a concussion last Friday, is also improving and hopes to be ready to return Saturday once he completes Major League Baseball’s seven-day concussion protocol.
Gibbons said right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit will not play in the ALCS. Benoit is still recovering from a torn calf muscle.
The Blue Jays made it through an 11-16 September swoon to pick up one of the two wild-card spots in the American League.
Toronto has won six games in a row and is unbeaten in October.
The Blue Jays closed out the regular season with two key victories in Boston, a wild-card win over Baltimore and a three-game sweep of the top-seeded Rangers.