The Chicago Cubs will have a different starter in four years and a completely different one in 20 years.
Well, it’s time. The Chicago Cubs Jon Lester will not start Opening Day, slotting in the third spot. This leaves Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks to compete for the job. To be honest, it’s time. After Darvish had a tough time in the first half, he broke out in the second half (16.86 SO/W, 119 SO, 7 BB). He’s my favorite to win the job.
The starters have been Jon Lieber (3), Kerry Wood (2), Carlos Zambrano (6), Ryan Dempster (2), Jeff Samardzija (2), Lester (4), and Jake Arrieta (1). Arrieta took the Opening Day starter after the 2015 Cy Young season for 2016.
Between Hendricks and Darvish, Darvish seems to be primed to get it. Especially when Arrieta got it last time he had a breakout season. He had a 12-1 record, 0.75 ERA and nine earned runs compared to 36 in the first half.
At age 30, he’s allowed one run in nine innings at an opponent’s quality at 8.5 (Triple-A). He’s got eight strikeouts in nine innings of work. He’s ‘putting in work,’ and he’s got a chance to make the Opening Day start. His second half wasn’t as strong as Darvish, but he’s making up for it in spring training.
Darvish and Hendricks are neck and neck, and to be honest? It’s more ceremonial than anything. The next ‘player in’ will go against the Milwaukee Brewers–same as the first one. And Lester? He’ll go after the Brewers after the off day. See, it’s ceremonial, not strategic. The strategy doesn’t work here.
With the Brewers hosting, the Cubs have a chance to get up a few games–but that doesn’t matter. It’s how you finish the season, not how you start it. They need to win some during the end of the season and not the beginning.
Editors Note: This was written before the coronavirus took over the world of sports.