Chicago Cubs set rotation for NLDS vs. Washington Nationals
By Ryan Tadych
The Chicago Cubs today released their rotation for the National League Division Series. The number one starter may surprise some people.
With Game 1 set for Friday at 6:38 pm on TBS, the Chicago Cubs got closer to setting their roster. Today, the announced their rotation for the first round games against the Washington Nationals.
Joe Maddon and the Cubs pulled off a bit of a surprise by announcing Kyle Hendricks as the Game 1 starter. There’s no doubt that Hendricks deserves the Game 1 nod. Finishing 7-5 with a 3.03 ERA, Hendricks has been excellent since returning from the DL.
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In fact, Hendricks has a sparkling 2.19 ERA in the second half. He looked much like the pitcher we saw in 2016. After beating Clayton Kershaw in Game 6 of the NLCS last year, and only allowing one run in Game 7 of the World Series, there is none more deserving than Hendricks. He arguably is the Cubs best pitcher right now.
Getting the nod for Game 2 is the experienced veteran, Jon Lester. Lester had a sub-par season, going 13-8 with a 4.33 ERA. A lot of struggles can be contributed to some injuries. In fact, an August injury set him back and is a big reason why he is not starting Game 1.
Lester is 9-7 with a 2.63 ERA in 22 career playoff games. He’s also only allowed three earned runs in 15.1 innings in the NLDS in his career. One would assume that Lester would also be available out of the bullpen in a potential Game 5.
Quintana Gets First Playoff Nod
Jose Quintana will make his first career playoff start in Game 3 at Wrigley Field. As a Cub, Quintana is 7-3 with a 3.74 ERA and a 10.5 K/9 rate, the highest of his career. It makes sense to give Quintana the nod at home in a comfortable setting. Depending on how the Nationals line-up, he could go up against Max Scherzer in Game 3. This is a good move as it guarantees that Quintana will get a start in the playoffs this year.
Jake Arrieta will round out the rotation in Game 4. Arrieta was 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA during the regular season but has been nagged by a hamstring injury. He did not make his final start of the season. Without the injury, one would assume Arrieta might have been the No. 1 starter as he and Hendricks have been outstanding in the second half.
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Maddon said that Quintana will throw in the simulated game today. Arrieta will throw a side session today and then again before his Game 4 start. You assume that Kyle Hendricks would get the nod in a potential Game 5. No decision has been made about John Lackey, but he looks destined for the bullpen.
The Nationals are expected to announce their Game 1 starter tomorrow, and rosters will be finalized on Friday.