Chicago Cubs: Starting rotation for the playoffs can be deadly
Game 2 presents the toughest pitching decision the Chicago Cubs face. They have three options: John Lackey, Jon Lester, and Jose Quintana. If things do not go as well as expected in the opening game, a win on the road is needed. It would be the first playoff appearance for Quintana, so leaving him to pitch at home is best. Maybe.
So, two choices.
How do you decide? Both with great post-season experience. Each possesses traits that make them important to the team. They struggled for the first half, found success for the second half.
Lackey give up home runs. The Nationals hit home runs.
Lester lets runners on base at a high rate. And, the Nationals get on base. And run.
So, it is truly a toss-up.
Why not pitch both?
It is not like last season when the Cubs could not trust their fifth starter. He didn’t even make the post-season roster. Lackey and Lester should. With their history, how can they not?
One starts, and the other goes to the pen. Here, I give Lester the start. Why? He found success against the Nationals this season. In 12 and two-thirds innings pitched, Lester allowed only four runs. While he did not pitch up a win in his two starts, he held the Nationals at bay. Lackey allowed 10 earned runs in this two starts against Washington.
Even though his home numbers are better – and I fear the reaction – Lackey can go to the pen for the Divisional Series. Tough call, but it makes the team better.