LEADING OFF: Indians get break, Jays prep for free agency
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
The Cubs can take an NLCS lead back to Wrigley Field by winning Game 5 in Los Angeles. Chicago thumped the Dodgers 10-2 on Wednesday night, tying the series 2-2 behind slump-busting performances from Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell. Jon Lester makes his second start of the series after allowing one run in six innings in a Game 1 victory. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says he won't ask ace Clayton Kershaw to pitch on three days' rest, and instead will go with Kenta Maeda, who has a 9.00 ERA in two postseason appearances and allowed three runs in four innings in the NLCS opener.
The Cleveland Indians get a while to rest before hosting Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. The break will give starter Trevor Bauer more time to recover from a lacerated right pinkie, the result of an accident while repairing one of his drones. The question is whether the quirky right-hander will be able to pitch against the Cubs or Dodgers next week. ''Obviously, he needs to heal, but he can't just not throw,'' manager Terry Francona said.
After leading Toronto to its second straight AL Championship Series appearance - and loss - outfielder Jose Bautista and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion become free agents after the World Series along with starter R.A. Dickey, outfielder Michael Saunders and relievers Joaquin Benoit and Brett Cecil. Toronto must decide whether to exercise a $3 million option on pitcher Jason Grilli or pay a $250,000 buyout.
CONTINUE THE FIGHT
Chicago native and 87-year-old comedian Bob Newhart has been engaging with a younger generation this postseason by tweeting photos of himself holding the Cubs' victory flag with the (hash)FlyTheW hashtag. Newhart went to Chicago's LaSalle Street as a 16-year-old to cheer on the Cubs following their NL pennant victory in 1945, and he's stuck by the North Siders even as their World Series drought stretched to over a century. Newhart went to Game 3 of the NLCS with his grandson on Tuesday and said he hopes his Cubs fandom continues in his family. ''I'm deathly afraid that it's going to die with me because my grandchildren are Dodger fans,'' he said. ''I've got to leave it to somebody to continue the fight.''