It’s no secret that the Cubs pitching staff has had its struggles this season. Between getting shelled in the first inning, turning to the bullpen early, Lester and Quintana’s inconsistency and Darvish’s injury-plagued season there is plenty of room for improvement.
The Cubs added a boost to the starting rotation by trading for Cole Hamels. In 3 games with the Cubs, Hamels is 3-0, 0.72 ERA and 23 ks. Hamels is proving to be a big part of the rotation going forward.
With the starting rotation’s struggles and Hamels success, who starts game one for the Cubs in the Playoffs? I think its very close between Kyle Hendricks and Cole Hamels, but the Cubs should send Hendricks to the mound for game one of the NLDS.
Although Hamels has been very good, I don’t think it would be a good idea to put that much pressure on a pitcher that just joined a new team. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to let Hamels get a feel for how the Cubs manage a post-season game.
Last year Hendricks started game one of the NLDS against the Nationals and pitched an absolute gem going 7 innings with no runs allowed.
Throughout his postseason career, Hendricks has been very consistent and comfortable on the mound. Hendricks has started 10 postseason games, posting a 2.88 ERA in 50 innings pitched while just walking 13 batters. Without a doubt Hendricks will give the Cubs a chance to lock down a game one win as it stands now.
NLDS starting rotation predictions:
- Game 1 – Hendricks
- Game 2 – Hamels
- Game 3 – Lester
- Game 4 – Quintana
- Game 5 – Hendricks (If needed)
I like the idea of having Lester start game 3 if the Cubs have a chance to sweep. Even though he’s been inconsistent this year, Lester has shown what he can do when he’s on top of his game.
Quintana hasn’t been as good as he can be this season, thankfully he still has time to figure things out in September. If the series does go five games there is a chance that Hendricks starts that game if Quintana is still struggling.
The Cubs still have a lot of work ahead of them before the postseason. The Brewers and Cardinals are too close for comfort, the Cubs need to play their best baseball now to secure the division.