The veteran starters of the Cubs hold the advantage over a young Marlins rotation
While there have been no official announcements on a set rotation for either team, these will likely be the starters used in some order.
Probable Pitching Matchups:
Game 1: Wednesday 2 pm Sandy Alcantara (3-2, 3.00 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (8-3, 2.01 ERA)
All signs point towards the Cubs sending one of the best in baseball to the mound for the series opener in Yu Darvish.
Darvish has put together a Cy Young caliber season in 2020 and has come up big for the Cubs at times this season when they have been desperate for a win to end a losing streak. This makes me believe Darvish will do the same in the postseason.
His opponent will be Sandy Alcantara, who made the National League All-Star team last season.
Just 24-years old, Alcantara threw a quality start in six of his seven outings this season. The right-hander posted a 1.190 WHIP in his 42 innings pitched this season.
David Ross should play a lot of lefties in the lineup against Alcantara, who struggled a bit in that department this season:
vs RHB .190 BA .474 OPS
Vs LHB .268 BA .859 OPS
Game 2: Thursday Pablo Lopez (6-4, 3.61 ERA) vs. Kyle Hendricks (6-5, 2.88 ERA)
Look for the Cubs to change speeds up in game two when Kyle Hendricks takes the mound.
The Professor has been lights out in September, allowing just six combined earned runs in his last five starts.
For the Marlins, Pablo Lopez will be on the hill at some point in this series. Similar to Alcantara, Lopez also struggles more against left-handed batters.
In his five starts in September, Lopez has surrendered a combined 15 earned runs.
The 24-year old right-hander has a high ground ball rate (52.2 percent) and has surrendered just four home runs in 57 1/3 innings pitched this season.
Game 3: Friday Sixto Sanchez (3-2, 3.46 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (3-3, 5.16 ERA)
If there is a game three in this series, it will be interesting to see who both managers decide to start.
For the Cubs, I think Ross will go with the veteran Jon Lester. The lefty has had a few rough outings this season, including his last time out against the White Sox (3 2/3 IP 7 ER), but he has also pieced together seven starts this season to allow two runs or fewer.
Given his playoff track record, I think you ride-or-die with Big Jon in this postseason and hope for the best. If he is on the mound in the deciding game, he will have a short leash, and waiting to come in will likely be Alec Mills, Adbert Alzolay, and Jose Quintana.
The same game plan will likely be in place for Don Mattingly and the Marlins.
Rookie right-hander Sixto Sanchez could be the likely choice, though he has had back-to-back rough outings to end the season. Before that, the No. 19 MLB Prospect tossed four straight quality starts.
All these starters for the Marlins are young and have never thrown in the playoffs before. To me, this means just as much as any type of statistics in a box score.
Sure there won’t be any fans in attendance, but the nerves and adrenaline of pitching in the postseason will still be there.