Chicago Cubs: Starting Rotation Set for National League Wild Card Series

The Chicago Cubs have announced their starting rotation for their National League Wild Card Series against the Miami Marlins.

The Chicago Cubs are set to host the Miami Marlins in the National League Wild Card Series.

The series will be a best of 3 and begins on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Cubs announced their starting rotation for the series.

Starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks will open the series for the Cubs in Game 1 on Wednesday followed by Yu Darvish in Game 2 on Thursday, and Jon Lester if a Game 3 is necessary on Friday.

For Hendricks, this mark the first time that he has anchored the Cubs’ rotation in the postseason. Hendricks was brilliant during the 2020 regular season for the Cubs. Hendricks was a third of an inning shy of leading the National League in innings pitched with a total of 81.1 innings. In those 81.1 innings, Hendricks posted an ERA of 2.88 (3.55 FIP) with a WHIP of 0.996.

The idea of Hendricks getting the nod for the Cubs in Game 1 against the Marlins on Wednesday could come as a surprise to some considering Darvish was the best pitcher on the Cubs’ staff this season. Darvish posted a 2.01 ERA (2.23 FIP) and 0.961 WHIP through 76 innings pitched this season. Darvish also led all starting pitchers in wins this season with a total of 8.

One of the reasons why Hendricks may have gotten the nod over Darvish in Game 1 agains the Marlins is because he has found more success in the postseason. In 11 postseason appearances (10 starts), Hendricks has posted an ERA of 2.98 and a WHIP of 1.188. Meanwhile, Darvish has posted a 5.81 ERA and 1.177 WHIP in 6 postseason starts throughout his career.

For the Cubs, it is crucial that they win Games 1 and 2 in which Hendricks and Darvish are starting. Hendricks and Darvish have been the backbone of the Cubs’ starting rotation in 2020 and have carried the team when the offense hasn’t. Not to mention, the Cubs’ starting rotation is a large question mark in the postseason after you get past Hendricks and Darvish.

Lester will be the Cubs’ first answer at trying to solve that question mark.. There is no doubt that Lester, over the course of his career, has been an elite starting pitcher in the postseason. The issue is the postseason Jon Lester that has a career ERA of 2.51 is not the same Jon Lester that will start a potential Game 3 for the Cubs against the Marlins.

To reference the movie “Major League”, Lester is essentially Eddie Harris of the Cleveland Indians. Lester is no longer the strikeout pitcher he once was and is now simply emptying out whatever he has left in his arsenal. That is a dangerous thought for the Cubs in the event that they are forced to play a Game 3 against the Marlins. That is why if the Cubs are indeed in a position where they have to play Game 3, Lester will likely be depended on to get through the Marlins’ lineup at least once before David Ross turns to a bullpen that includes Jose Quintana.

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What are your thoughts on the Chicago Cubs starting rotation for the postseason? Sound off in the comments section with your thoughts.