Will the team with the best ex-Red Sox win the Series?

Will Game One starter Jon Lester prove the best of either team's ex-Red Sox?

Will Game One starter Jon Lester prove the best of either team’s ex-Red Sox?

That was then: The team with the most ex-Cubs lost. This could be now: The team with the best ex-Red Sox wins.

The Cubs’ ex-Red Sox: Theo Epstein (president of baseball operations), Jon Lester (the Cubs’ World Series Game One starting pitcher), and John Lackey. The Indians’ ex-Red Sox: Terry Francona (manager), Mike Napoli (first baseman/designated hitter), and Andrew Miller (extraterrestrial relief pitcher).

Factors to consider:

The Indians go to the Series on Merritt

"I bet he's shaking in his boots," said Bautista of Merritt before Game Five. Bautista lost that bet . . .

“I’m sure he’s shaking in his boots,” said Bautista of Merritt before Game Five. Bautista and the Blue Jays lost that bet . . .

The Blue Jays picked the absolute wrong time to get shut out for the first time in postseason play. Ever. And thanks to a kid who’d only thrown eleven major league innings ever until Wednesday afternoon, aided and abetted by that skin-tight bullpen, the Indians are going to the World Series after hammering down the Jays, 3-0.

Bloody hell, for the Jays, not the Indians

Ten stitches in time couldn't save one, never mind nine innings for Bauer . . .

Ten stitches in time couldn’t save one, never mind nine innings for Bauer . . .

They must have been afraid Trevor Bauer was going to throw a blood ball Monday night. I bet it would have had one helluva break thrown up to the plate. Either that or the Blue Jays feared the Indians—drawing first blood on a first-inning RBI double—really were out for blood.

Bauer’s ten-stitched pinkie bled from the now-infamous injury he incurred while working on one of the flying drones that are among his off-field hobbies. His blood is liable to become baseball’s most famous since that which seeped through Curt Schilling’s ankle-sheath stitches during the 2004 Red Sox’s surreal plunge back to the Promised Land.

Yes, the Rangers, back from the dead, doing their yard work

Dallas Keuchel, learning the hard way how you can be sunk when your sinker can't be.

Dallas Keuchel, learning the hard way how you can be sunk when your sinker can’t be.

It may not be advisable to say it to Astros lefthander Dallas Keuchel’s face, of course. But yes, the Rangers are back from the dead. And if Wednesday night’s proceedings in Arlington were any indication, these Rangers would like nothing more than to leave those Astros—and everyone else in the American League West—for dead, too.

Dipoto’s departure: So who’s really running the Angels, and into where?

Jerry Dipoto (right) with Mike Scioscia, before the smiles died between them . . .

Jerry Dipoto (right) with Mike Scioscia, before the smiles died between them . . .

In his 1970s days with the Milwaukee Brewers, George Scott, the big colourful first baseman who’d been a Red Sox favourite, had a chat with the team’s then co-owner Edmund Fitzgerald, about whose team Gordon Lightfoot did not write “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” “If we’re gonna win,” Scott told Fitzgerald, “the players gotta play better, the coaches gotta coach better, the manager’s gotta manage better, and the owners gotta own better.”

Cano goes West for what the Yankees wouldn’t show

The Mariners showed Cano what the Yankees for once wouldn't.

The Mariners showed Cano what the Yankees for once wouldn’t.

There was a little is-he-is-or-is-he-ain’t talk early but that dissipated soon enough to affirm. Robinson Cano is going to Seattle. If nothing else, Washington state’s lack of an income tax makes his ten years and $240 million an even nicer payday than it would have been if the Yankees had been willing to go above and beyond their $170 million to keep the second baseman.

Jeter opts in, Red Sox make qualifiers, and other stove bolts . . .

Derek Jeter will earn $2.5 million more than the 2014 player option he could have picked up would have paid him. ESPN’s Andrew Marchand reports the Yankees have signed Jeter to a one-year, $12 million deal for 2014.

The Captain returns . . .

The Captain returns . . .

A source with knowledge of the negotiations told ESPN New York that the talks were largely held between Jeter and team owner Hal Steinbrenner, who both live in Tampa. Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, handled the details of the contract.

Words, potentially, for the Red Sox to die by?

It came forth within half an hour after Game Three ended with Yadier Molina in self-professed shock, Allen Craig sprawled across the plate in disbelief, the Red Sox slinking to their clubhouse, the Cardinals whooping it up between their dugout and the plate area. All because of an unusual but no-questions-asked correct obstruction call.

Farrell tried a futile argument with Dana DeMuth---who merely affirmed Jim Joyce's obstruction call---but Farrell's own preceding strategies helped set up the disaster . . .

With Middlebrooks, Saltalamacchia, and Uehara surrounding, Farrell tried a futile argument with Dana DeMuth—who merely affirmed Jim Joyce’s obstruction call—but the manager’s own preceding non-strategies helped set up the disaster . . .

Even if he was lost to explain what just happened, manager John Farrell took it like a man.

The Boston Red Sox, raised from the dead

Big Papi mid-fives celebrating Red Sox fans . . .

Big Papi mid-fives celebrating Red Sox fans . . .

A year ago, the Red Sox were playing out a disheartening string, just hoping to finish the season with whatever was left of their dignity. They played under the lash of a front office who’d become something like lost souls, and a manager whose idea of quelling the gases remaining from that stupefying September 2011 collapse was to light matches.

Today, the Red Sox sit, stand, scamper, and strut as the American League East champions. And one of the keys was shown by pitcher Ryan Dempster, in the middle of the champagne-spraying clubhouse celebration, after they nailed the division on the arm of Jon Lester’s 100th career win.

The Cardinals Finish Coming From the Brink to Valhalla

Nelson Cruz’s walkoff grand slam in Game Two of the American League Championship Series? Gone with his other eight postseason record-tying bombs. Ian Kinsler’s theft of second, channeling Dave Roberts, to spark a World Series-tying rally in the first place? You won’t even find it on the police blotter now. The Rally Squirrel? Who the hell needed him?

Albert Pujols channeling Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson in Game Three? Fuggedabouddit. Derek Holland’s masterpiece pitching in Game Four of the World Series? Prove it. (And those were the two events that helped turn this World Series from good to great in the first place.)