Chicago Cubs: Arrieta slides in front of Lester in rotation adjustment

Oct 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester before game one of the 2016 World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester before game one of the 2016 World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Cubs and Joe Maddon made their first rotation adjustment of the year. Jake Arrieta will slide in front of Jon Lester to allow the lefty to open the Los Angeles Dodgers series.

Baseball is a fluid game. Those were the words of former Chicago Cubs manager Rick Renteria. Now it’s Joe Maddon, but it’s still the same. If you don’t make adjustments throughout the year you can get left behind. The Cubs made their first move by switching Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester in the rotation.

The Cubs had yesterday’s game postponed due to weather, but the move wasn’t related to that. With a heavily loaded left-handed lineup for the Dodgers, the move would allow Lester to have the advantage against them. Supposedly. But the numbers don’t really seem to validate that.

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Last season against left-handed hitters, Lester held them to a .200 average in 179 plate appearances against them. Those are solid numbers until you look at those of Arrieta.  In 374 plate appearances, he held left-handed hitters to a .194 average. He did issue about twice as many walks (51 to 25), but the fact is Arrieta was able to shut down hitters from both sides of the plate.

The move will allow Arrieta to work on his normal rest, while Lester will make the start on seven days rest.

The biggest concern is Arrieta doesn’t strike out as many hitters when facing left-handed hitters. They put the ball in play, which is something Maddon may want to avoid at Chavez Ravine. Lester had a SO/W ratio of 6.00, which bodes well against the Dodgers lineup.

This will be the first of many changes Maddon will need to make as the Cubs go through this season. From injuries to adjustments, the mind of a manager will always be turning. In the case of Maddon, let’s hope he keeps pushing all the right buttons once again.

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