Chicago Cubs: While the game three starter for the Cubs has not been announced, all signs point to Kyle Hendricks.
Game Three: Sunday 2:10 pm Undecided vs. Reynaldo Lopez (1-2, 4.68 ERA)
It has not yet been announced who manager David Ross plans on sending to the mound for the series finale.
If I had to guess, it would be Kyle Hendricks (6-5, 2.88 ERA) who would be pitching on four days rest. I say this because the Professor last pitched on Wednesday, and if he starts the first game of the playoffs (September 30), that would be seven days in between starts.
If the Cubs went with Darvish for game one of the Wild Card Series, the rest for Hendricks would be even longer, which is something Ross might not want to do. Though, if this is the case, that means he would likely not pitch until game three (if necessary) in the first round.
Let’s say it is Hendricks who starts; his outing earlier this year against the White Sox was not his best: 5 1/3 IP 7 H 3 ER 1 BB 3 SO.
Hendricks has been lights out of late, allowing just six earned runs in five quality starts in September.
Reynaldo Lopez did not face the Cubs during the first meeting and has recently pitched his way back into the White Sox rotation.
Lopez has yet to go more than 5 1/3 IP in his seven starts this season and is susceptible to the home-run ball (seven).
Hopefully, by this point in the series, the Cubs’ offense has found some consistency that has been lacking lately, and they add to the struggles of Lopez.
If Hendricks doesn’t start, could we see Brailyn Marquez make his big league debut? There have been rumblings of late about the possibility of seeing the hard-throwing lefty before the playoffs, though nothing has been confirmed.
The Cubs desperately need another left-handed weapon, having already clinched a playoff spot, I see no harm in throwing Marquez out there and seeing if he can be useful in the playoffs.
Ultimately, I believe the success of the Cubs in this series will come from their offense. The team’s pitching can only do so much; it asks a lot to shut out a high-powered White Sox offense for three straight games.
If they plan on winning, I imagine the Cubs will need to score at least four or more runs a few times this weekend. The scary part is this is something that has happened just once in their last eight games.
This will not get it done come playoff time, and if the Cubs plan on making a postseason run, it’s now or never to figure it out.