The Rundown: Cubs Likely Leaning Toward Lester for Game 1 of NLCS, Blue Jays and Royals Advance to ALCS, Eddy Julio Martinez May Still End Up with Giants

Nothing official yet, but it sounds like the Cubs are leaning toward starting Jon Lester in Game 1 of the NLCS.

Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio confirmed as much yesterday on ESPN 1000, but also said the team was going to meet a lay out a plan of action.

We should know sometime today what they’ve decided.

Lester hasn’t pitched since Friday, so they likely want to get him back out there sooner rather than later. And Jake Arrieta, who in his last time out had his worst start in months, would receive an extra day of rest if he starts Game 2.

Jesse Rogers guesses Kyle Hendricks and Jason Hammel will be the Game 3 and 4 starters, but I almost wonder if the Cubs turn to Dan Haren instead of Hammel. We’ll see.

Blue Jays advance in wacky game 5

Perhaps one of the weirdest innings of baseball I’ve ever witnessed occurred in Game 5 of the Blue Jays/Rangers game last night.

Tied at 2-2 with two outs and a runner on third in the top of the 7th, and Toronto catcher Russell Martin hits the bat of batter Shin-Soo Choo when he attempted to throw the ball back to the pitcher. The runner scrambled home:

I’ve never seen this happen before, but apparently it was a live ball since Choo was in the batter’s box. It seems like it should have been a dead ball, but I guess not.

Now 3-2 Rangers and heading into the bottom of the inning, it felt like the Blue Jays were going to lose the series on that wacky play. However, the Rangers proceeded to commit three consecutive errors to load the bases.

A blooper to the outfield tied the game (forcing the runner at second base). And then this happened:

The three-run homer by Jose Bautista made it a 6-3 game, and that’s how it would end.

But that 7th inning…wow. It also featured the benches clearing and the crowd throwing garbage onto the field.

I’ve said it quite a few times before, but this is why I love baseball so much: No matter how many years you’ve been watching the sport, so often you will see things you’ve never seen before.

Other notes

* The Astros took an early lead against the Royals in Game 5 of their series last night, but then Johnny Cueto shut things down, as the Royals won 7-2. This won’t be the last we’ve seen of the Astros. Tons of young, exciting talent. So that sets up an ALCS of Toronto vs. Kansas City — should be a great matchup.

* Remember how the Cubs signed top Cuban outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez last week? Well as Jon Heyman writes, the Giants still believe they have an agreement in place with Martinez. Heyman says MLB is expected to step in and make a decision soon on whether the Cubs or Giants will land the free agent. Very odd story. Stay tuned.

* More info on that Kyle Schwarber bomb from Tuesday night. Paul Sullivan confirms that the ball did land on top of the right-field video board. And instead of removing the ball, the Cubs have decided to surround it with a plexiglass case. Pretty funny.

* Easy to overlook with all the postseason fun at the big-league level, but the Arizona Fall League started up this week. Yesterday for the Mesa Solar Sox, Cubs prospect Jeimer Candelario, playing third base and batting third, went 3-for-4, with a double, walk and run scored.

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