Chicago Cubs: Jon Lester, LHP
Let’s be clear – if not for starting the Wild Card game on Tuesday at Wrigley Field, it’s irrefutable that Jon Lester would kick off the Division Series for Joe Maddon‘s Cubs. But, given he needs to lead Chicago past the Rockies, he’ll likely slot in next weekend in the NLDS.
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Lester has established himself as a solid top-of-the-rotation starter in the postseason. Of the starters for the Cubs, Lester, hands down, carries the most postseason experience. In each of Lester’s first two seasons with the Cubs, he started the first game in the National League Division Series and National League Championship Series.
The 2016 World Championship season, Lester finished with an impressive 2.02 ERA in 35 2/3 innings pitched, and being named the MVP for the National League Championship Series. Last season, despite various struggles with the pitch count, Lester still managed to finish with an ERA under 2.00, at 1.88, in 14 2/3 innings pitched.
The big lefty from the Pacific Northwest carries an intimidating demeanor on the mound, and who better to get the Cubs rolling once again in the postseason than Jon Lester. Regarding overall experience and excellent levels of production in a high-leverage situation, there is nobody better to start them off strong.