KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Terry Francona once brought a lot of joy to Boston, guiding the Red Sox to a pair of World Series championships. Starting soon he hopes it doesn’t go so well for them.

Now managing the Cleveland Indians, Francona will face his former team in the best-of-five AL division series. The matchup begins Thursday, with both teams still trying to earn home-field advantage.

This is Francona’s fourth season with the AL Central champion Indians, and he said he doesn’t want this to be about him versus the AL East champ Red Sox.

“Well, the one thing I think I need to be cognizant of is the players have worked so hard, both sides, to get to this,” Francona said before Saturday’s game against Kansas City. “I can’t let my personal feelings ever get in the way of or take away from what they’ve done. So whatever my feelings are need to remain my feelings.”

Francona is a close friend of Red Sox Manager John Farrell.

“It’s tough when you’re going to compete against one of your best friends,” Francona said. “That’s actually kind of hard, but I’m so proud of him and happy for him, and what he’s accomplished. I kind of consider it an honor, actually, to compete against him.”

Francona isn’t sure how his rotation will line up for the Red Sox series. Ace Corey Kluber, who is 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA, has not pitched since Monday when he left in the fourth inning at Detroit with tightness in his quadriceps.

Kluber will throw a bullpen session Sunday. The Indians have not ruled out Kluber starting the postseason opener. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway said he is confident Kluber will pitch in one of the first three postseason games.

“He’s doing well,” Francona said. “He went out and did some running, some agility stuff today.”

Danny Salazar, who hasn’t pitched since Sept. 9 because of a forearm strain, could throw a simulated game Monday.

NATIONALS: Second baseman Daniel Murphy (glute muscle), who last began a game Sept. 17, isn’t expected back in the starting lineup until Game 1 of the NLDS.

ASTROS: Third baseman Alex Bregman has been shut down for the remaining three games. Manager A.J. Hinch said the team decided not to risk further irritation of his recent hamstring injury.

DODGERS: Manager Dave Roberts said the team is considering four starters for the NLDS, giving itself insurance if Clayton Kershaw or Hill were to have any health issues. “It’s a possibility,” Roberts said. “A lot depends on Game 1 and how it plays out. It doesn’t make any sense to forecast what we’re going to do.”

PADRES: Ryan Schimpf’s 20 home runs are third-most by a Padres rookie behind Nate Colbert’s 24 in 1969 and Jedd Gyorko’s 23 in 2013. Schimpf also had 15 homers this season in the minors, in just half of a season.

THE CROWD FOR Friday’s matchup between Arizona and San Diego – the bottom two teams in the NL West – was announced at 42,651, the second-largest of the season at home for the Diamondbacks. Only the season opener drew more.